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Urgent actions

Committee on Enforced Disappearances

An urgent action is a request from the Committee to a State party to immediately take all necessary measures to search for, locate and protect a disappeared person, and investigate the disappearance (article 30 of the Convention.)

A request can be submitted as a matter of urgency by the relatives of the disappeared person or their legal representatives, their counsel or any person authorized by them, or any other person having a legitimate interest, without the need to exhaust domestic remedies. They should first report the case to one of the competent bodies of the State party concerned, if possible.

Once the urgent action is registered, the Committee provides the State party with specific recommendations as to the measures to take to search for the disappeared person and investigate his or her disappearance, and on the situation of the victims (the disappeared person, and any individual who has suffered harm as the direct result of an enforced disappearance). The Committee also requests the State party to provide information as to the measures taken to implement these recommendations.

The Committee maintains the urgent action open until the disappeared person has been located. Throughout the procedure, the Committee maintains permanent contact with States authorities through their permanent missions, and with the authors of requests for urgent action through notes, letters, meetings and telephone calls.

Reports on urgent actions

At each session, the Committee adopts a report on urgent actions, which takes stock of all urgent actions registered to date, describes the main trends observed, and the adopted jurisprudence. For example, from 1 January to 31 August 2020, the Committee registered 156 new requests for urgent action and sent 50 follow-up notes.

More resources

Contact information

Requests for urgent actions must be submitted in writing by email (preferably in Word format) to the following email address: [email protected]

If you do not have access to the internet, you can also submit your request to the following address:

CED secretariat
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10 (Switzerland)