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WGEID public event to present its thematic report on enforced disappearances in the context of transnational transfers


24 September 2021




Presentation of the WGEID’s thematic report

Draft Concept Note and Programme

The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) has recently documented several cases in which States resorted to transnational transfers that led to enforced disappearances with the participation, support or acquiescence of other States, in an attempt to capture their nationals or third country nationals, often as part of purported counter-terrorism operations. The vast majority of these cases appear to have contravened national and international law, including the prohibition of enforced disappearances, as provided for in the Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Some of these cases of enforced disappearances occurred within the context or at the margins of regular expulsion procedures, while others were carried out as part of covert extraterritorial operations, including so-called extraordinary renditions. Irrespective of the nature of the procedure, in most cases the documented circumstances resulted in the violation of the non-refoulement obligations of the host State, including as enshrined in article 8 of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

With a view to facilitating these operations, a number of States have allegedly sought to sign bilateral security cooperation agreements, which often contain broad and vague references to combating terrorism and transnational crime. The agreements are reportedly phrased ambiguously to allow for expulsion or abduction of anyone deemed to be a “security risk” from countries party to the agreements.

The report (A/HRC/48/57, para. 38-60) outlines a number of recommendations to States to stop and prevent these practices, conduct independent and effective investigations into possible violations, hold perpetrators accountable and provide victims and their families with the right to an effective remedy.


The event will aim at:

  1. Raising awareness about how enforced disappearances occur in the context of transnational transfers;
  2. Laying out obligations of States under international law in preventing and eradicating these practices, investigating human rights violations, and protecting fundamental rights of victims and their families;
  3. Discussing how the Working Group and other human rights mechanisms can effectively follow up on the implementation of the recommendations;
  4. Outlining future initiatives with a view to shedding more light on the complexities of the issue;
  5. Engaging with States, civil society, family associations and other partners in an open and constructive manner.

The event will take place on the margins of the Working Group’s 125th session on Friday, 24 September 2021 (15h00 – 16h30 CET) over Zoom.
Meeting ID: 988 6497 3993
Passcode: 659758

Envisaged Programme

15:00 – 16:00 

  • Welcoming remarks by the WGEID 
  • Presentation of the report by Mr. Bernard Duhaime, former member and Chair-Rapporteur of the WGEID
  • Remarks by Ms. Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism
  • Remarks by Ms. Elina Steinerte, Chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
  • Remarks by Mr. Massimo Frigo, International Commission of Jurists

16:00 – 16:30

  • Q/A

Meeting ID: 988 6497 3993; Passcode: 659758