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Signatures: 95
Most recent: Sri Lanka
Date: May 2016

Most recent: Sri Lanka
Date: May 2016
View complete list of signatures and ratifications on UN website

Number of countries that recognise competence of the Committee to receive individual and interstate complaints: 19

Japan and Sri Lanka only accepted interstate complaints

Worldmap of signatures and ratifications


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The focal point of the International Coalition against Enforced Disappearances is located at the secretariat of AFAD. Please contact the focal point for more information.


To strengthen the work for the convention please link this website to the website of your organisation.


Statement of the International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearance (ICAED) on the Commemoration of the International Week of the Disappeared

The clamor of the families of victims of enforced disappearance from across the globe to resurface and bring back their disappeared loved ones is louder than before. Another year has passed and although a significant number of milestones have been achieved in the collective struggle against this painful phenomenon, enforced disappearance continues to traumatize the lives of innocent families worldwide.

In the August 2015 Report of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UN WGEID), the number of cases under active consideration stands at 43, 563 in a total of 88 states[1].It is plausible to theorize that the continuing occurrences of enforced disappearance is associated with the States’ lack of sufficient legal mechanisms and frameworks that will safeguard the lives of its citizens from the cruel act of enforced disappearance. The UN Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which is an international legal instrument that was adopted to address the issue, is faced with different political challenges. As of May 2016, many countries have yet to sign and ratify the Convention and those which have ratified have yet to recognize the competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances.

In Asia, only 6 out of 52 countries ratified, 11 countries signed, and 35 countries have no action on the Convention. The Philippines is also the only country in Asia that has a domestic law against enforced disappearance while Sri Lanka was the latest to sign the Convention. In Africa, 11 countries have already ratified, 27 signed, and 26 countries have no action. In Europe, 15 countries ratified, 29 countries signed, while 15 countries have no action. In South America, 9 countries ratified, 9 countries signed, and 4 countries remain with no action. In North America, only 6 countries ratified, 8 signed, and 21 countries have no action. Finally in Oceania, only 1 country ratified, 3 signed, and 11 remains with no action[2].

It is also important to note that although many countries ratified the Convention, many of them have not yet recognized the competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearance (CED). Only 20 countries recognize the competence of the CED out of the 48 countries that have ratified the Convention.[3]

Enforced Disappearance is still a tool of repressive governments to paralyze their political enemies and other innocent communities. In a recent report in Bangladesh, 8 cases of enforced disappearance happened and documented in January 2015 - April 2016. In Bangladesh, enforced disappearance is one of the primary acts perpetrated by law enforcement agencies, paramilitary, and armed forces to detain and even extra-judicially execute individuals.

In Mexico, 545 cases of enforced disappearances have already been transmitted by the UN WGEID to the government from 1980 to 2015. Out of the 545 cases, 43 involved female victims and 68 victims were eventually found dead. In a more recent incident on September 2014, 43 students from the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos in Ayotzinapa were subjected to enforced disappearance in Iguala, state of Guerrero. The burned remains of one of them were found weeks later. The other 42 are still missing.[4]

Europe was not spared of the inhuman crimes of enforced disappearance. In Belarus, political disappearances of four persons have not been properly investigated since 1999 despite the fact that the Council of Europe in 2004 produced the report Disappeared Persons in Belarus and demanded the government to take appropriate measures.

Enforced disappearances continue to be a challenge in Zimbabwe as well and currently human rights activists are concerned about the disappearance of human rights activists Paul Chizuze and Itai Dzamara in 2012 and March 2015 respectively. The concern is that it seems the state is not moved by the disappearance of its citizens and the clarion call is for Zimbabwe to come up with legislation against this crime against humanity. Enforced disappearances bring untold suffering to families who are traumatized by the disappearance of a loved one.

On the occasion of this year’s International Week of the Disappeared, ICAED and its 55 member-organizations are now calling on Governments who have not yet signed and ratified the Convention and who have not yet enacted domestic legislation to do so without further delay.















Mary Aileen D. Bacalso

Focal Person

International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances


[1] A/HRC/30/38 Report of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

[3] Declarations recognizing the competence of the CED under Article 31 and 32


       Every last week of May, we commemorate the International Week of the Disappeared (IWD), a painful reminder that thousands of families still await information on the fate of their loved ones who have disappeared and thousands of disappeared persons are waiting to be freed from the unknown prisons where they are kept. The IWD was incepted by the Latin American Federation of Associations for Relatives of Disappeared-Detainees (FEDEFAM), which, in turn, was adopted by families of the disappeared across the world.

       The International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances (ICEAD) and its 53 member-organisations campaign for the universal ratification and implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPED), the recognition of the competence of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the enactment of domestic laws criminalizing enforced disappearances. It is the most emblematic way to pay tribute to the disappeared and their families.


Download the statement here and continue reading

You can also download the statement in Russian, French and Spanish

Today, 23 December 2014 marks the 4th anniversary of the entry into force of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (Convention) after the 20th instrument of ratification was deposited by Iraq.  Four years after the entry into force of the Convention, this treaty, whose provisions originate from the concrete sufferings of the families of the disappeared, has garnered 44 ratifications and 94 signatories, with Slovakia being the most recent State Party and Angola as the most recent signatory.  Yet of the 94 States Parties, only 18 States have recognized the competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED). 


With the 84 states having outstanding cases submitted to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, universal ratification of the Convention is far from being realized.  The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UN WGEID) reports of 42,889 active cases it has received from 84 states.  Multiplied by the number of family members, relatives and friends who suffer from the effect of enforced disappearance, each case is not just part of statistics but it signifies tremendous human sufferings caused by states which are supposed to be protectors of human rights. 


Download the statement here and continue reading.

You can also download the statement in French

End Enforced Disappearances!

End Impunity!

We must not forget the important historical lessons from the thousands of activists, children and innocent citizens who disappeared in Latin America at the height of the military and civilian dictatorships in the 70s and 80s. Many of those who disappeared chose to question the failure of many governments to implement measures that will address poverty, unemployment and promote civil, political and economic liberties of the people. Since then, the phenomenon of enforced disappearance has continued to spread throughout the world.

The strong commitment of our colleagues in Latin America to search for the disappeared loved ones, and to journey for justice is a very powerful force that continues to inspire the world until today. In 1981, the Latin American Federation of Associations for Relatives of Disappeared Detainees (FEDEFAM) chose the 30th of August as the International Day of the Disappeared. This action institutionalizes the campaign against forced disappearances and the inhumane practices of detaining and torturing dissidents and opposition members in undisclosed prisons. The International Day of the Disappeared gained official international recognition by the United Nations in 2010.

Download the statement here and continue reading. 

Statement of the ICAED International Week of the Disappeared

The International Week of the Disappeared was globally celebrated from the 26th to the 31st of May. To mark this important annual remembrance the ICAED published this statement.  

"This week we commemorate the International Week of the Disappeared, first initiated by the Latin American Federation of Associations of Relatives of Disappeared-Detainees (FEDEFAM) in 1981 and adopted by many organizations of families of the disappeared and civil society organizations world-wide.  The commemoration was also meant to step up the campaign against enforced disappearances which were then at their peak during the dark years of the dictatorship in many Latin American countries.  Working hard to realize the dream for a world without enforced disappearances is our most important tribute to the desaparecidos.

The International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED), which has 52 member-organizations from various parts of the globe, gives tribute to the disappeared and their families.  A fitting tribute to them is the concretization of its mandate to campaign for the universal ratification and implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED), the recognition of the competence of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the enactment of domestic laws criminalizing enforced disappearances.  This strong international human rights instrument for prevention of recurrence of enforced disappearances provides for the right NOT to be subjected to enforced disappearances.  Stemming from real-life experiences of victims of enforced disappearances, this treaty provides, among other things, the right to truth and justice and the right not to be subjected to enforced disappearance.  It considers enforced disappearance as a continuing offense and holds States proven to have committed enforced disappearances, responsible for the acts committed by its agents.  It has strong provisions on truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence [...]"

Continue reading this statement downloading the full version in English, Spanish or French below.


2014 ICAED IWD Statement English


2014 ICAED IWD Statement Spanish


2014 ICAED IWD Statement French

ICAED RISING UP: A Unity Statement

The 2nd ICAED General Membership Conference, Geneva, Switzerland, 24 – 27 March 2014


We, human rights organizations from


Belarus, Cyprus, Indonesia, Morocco, Philippines, Switzerland, Western Sahara, including the online participation of organizations from France, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, Thailand, Uruguay, gather here in Geneva, Switzerland during the last week of the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council in the spirit of international solidarity to step up our global campaign for the universal ratification and full implementation of the UN Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. We evaluated our work; read the signs of the times on the phenomenon of enforced disappearance in our respective countries; and sharpened our strategies in campaigning for the end of enforced disappearance and impunity worldwide.


We renew our common commitment to attain a world without disappeared people.


Enforced Disappearance: A Present Global Problem


Even after the long years of struggle against this most heinous of human rights violations, someone, somewhere is still disappeared or is under the threat of being disappeared by repressive and non-repressive governments in many parts of the world. Enforced disappearance violates the most basic rights of a person – the right to security and dignity, right to fair trial, right not to be tortured, right to truth, right to have effective investigation and remedies, right to family life, and when the disappeared is killed, the right to identification and proper burial or cremation. Its persistence is a grave threat to the values and principles that we hold dear as democratic societies. Without an appropriate and urgent response, more will add to the long list of desaparecidos worldwide.


The total number of cases transmitted by the Working Group to Governments since its inception is 53,986 The number of cases under active consideration that have not yet been clarified, closed or discontinued stands at 42,889 in a total of 84 States. These numbers do not take into account the massive underreporting of cases in many countries in the world. From the reports of the Working Group, different human rights organizations, specially our member organizations, disappearances are still happening in alarming numbers in Asia, the Euro-Mediterranean, Africa and even Latin America, among other regions [...]


Download the full statement here in English and French (Spanish coming soon)



ICAED Unity Statement English


ICAED Unity Statement French

Extract of the keynote speech by Emmanuel Decaux President of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, on the opening of the ICAED Meeting

"The annual meeting of the ICAED is a very important opportunity to liaise with you, as well as with others stakeholders. Unfortunately, I know that a lot of members of the coalition were not able to come to Geneva, due to financial restraints or other commitments. I will ask to your chairperson, Ms Mary Aileen Bacalso, to send to them all my best wishes, on behalf of the Committee on enforced disappearances, and to hope that next year they could have the same opportunity to liaise directly with UN bodies and State parties, here, in Geneva. 

I used to say that the convention is “victim-oriented”, it is not a formula, it a strong commitment for each member of the Committee, in exercising our duties and or responsibilities. The courageous and perilous work of grass-root organizations, in difficult situations is the frontline for the defense of human rights and specially the fight against enforced disappearance. It is an “anonymous crime” and to break the wall of silence and fear, is the first step to trigger international protection. We need the information from the family and the relative, from the grass-root organizations working on the turf as well as front the strong network of international NGOs, with your regional groups and the ICAED. 

As you know, after formal consultations, the Committee adopted a strong position about the cooperation with civil society. The openness of reporting process, under article 29, depend of the contribution of all stakeholders, as well as the appeal for urgent actions, according to article 30, or the files of article 33 about country visit after credible allegations of gross violations of the CED. We are working in the same way to draft a paper on the cooperation with Human Rights National institutions which will be put on the website of the Committee for comments."

(Click on the title to download the complete keynote speech)

ICAED Meeting Geneva 2014: Bettancourt remembers her disappeared brother


Francisco, my brother, every time I look at your photo I realize you did not changed. I know that you are somewhere in this planet; but you're not. That yes, you changed, maybe you got old in moments of pain, that you suffered and your hair, your face, your clothes are now different...

We searched for you everywhere, we scanned the horizon and the letters, we expected a phone call, we hoped someone had seen you in the jails of the dictatorship. We even talked to the traitors for some clues, some hint that confirmed us that you had been seen somewhere. We wanted to convince ourselves that you had succeeded escaping from the clutches of the executioners.

When I arrived here to Geneva after ten years of dictatorship I wanted to believe that you could still be hidden somewhere or in the exiled. I made ​​calls through radio and magazines, I contacted your former colleagues, but I could not get more than confirmation that you had been a victim of enforced disappearance in your own country:

Pinochet 's henchmen had made ​​you disappear!

I know that the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance will not make you come back alive, not even those who made you disappeared will face trial, but I know that this Convention will, now and in the future, be an obstacle to tyrants and that this scourge will stop someday.

Other sons, brothers, fathers, husbands won’t disappear leaving an immense void in society and in their families.The only way that this can be an effective, efficient and lasting convention, is that all countries ratify it and accept the committee and that all human rights are respected.

With this Convention new rights have been born, and I want to emphasize that one is the right "not to be disappeared."

Brother, brothers, I want you all to know that we do not forget....

Thank you, 

Jenny Bettancourt