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Committee on Enforced Disappearances

The Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) is the body of independent experts which monitors the implementation of the Convention by the States parties. Specifically, its responsibilities include:

  • Examining reports from States parties, and making recommendations on the topic of enforced disappearances in that State (article 29 of the Convention).
  • Registering requests for urgent action (article 30 of the Convention).
  • Receiving individual complaints from victims of a violation of the Convention by a State party (article 31 of the Convention).
  • Receiving communications in which a State party claims that another State party is not fulfilling its obligations under the Convention; so-called inter-state communications (article 32 of the Convention).

The Committee meets in Geneva and holds two sessions per year.

For more information about the work of the Committee, read the Committee on Enforced Disappearances Fact sheet.

The mandate of the Committee

Enforced disappearance is a crime which, if practiced in a ‘widespread’ or ‘systematic’ manner, may amount to a crime against humanity. It affects all regions of the world and amounts to a violation of a range of human rights: of the disappeared persons, of their relatives, and also of the wider community.

The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance is designed to protect all persons from enforced disappearances, to prevent their occurrence, to provide support to victims and guide States as to the measures to take to promote the rights of the Convention, and enhance cooperation and assistance between States. It stipulates the creation of a Committee on Enforced Disappearances charged with the following tasks:

  • To examine reports submitted by States parties on the measures taken to give effect to their obligations under the Convention;
  • To send urgent actions to States, requesting that they take all the necessary measures, including interim measures, to locate and protect a disappeared person. This is the first time that a mandate of such nature is given to a treaty-monitoring body;
  • To receive and consider communications from individuals claiming to be victims of a violation by a State party of provisions of the Convention;
  • To receive and consider communications in which a State party claims that another State party is not fulfilling its obligations under the Convention;
  • To undertake visits to any State party, after consultation with the State concerned, if it receives information indicating that this State is seriously violating the provisions of the Convention.

If the Committee receives well-founded information that enforced disappearance is being practised on a widespread or systematic basis in a State party, it may also bring the matter to the attention of the General Assembly, through the Secretary-General, after seeking information from the State concerned. 

How the CED and the WGEID cooperate and coordinate

The Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) coexist and cooperate to assist States in their fight against enforced disappearances. This collaboration takes into account that:

  • The Committee can intervene only in the States that have ratified the Convention, while the Working Group is able to consider the situation in all countries.
  • The Committee may only deal with cases of enforced disappearance which occurred after the entry into force of the Convention on 23 December 2010, while the Working Group may examine all situations before that.

In summary, if a case or situation of concern occurs in a State party to the Convention and relates to a disappearance that occurred after 23 December 2010, the Committee is able to get involved. Otherwise, please refer to the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances.