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The 2006 joint open letter to the Human Rights Council signed by many dignitaries, organisations of family members and NGOs.

Joint press release of the visit of family members to the UN General Assemby in New York just previous to the adoption in November 2006.

History of the ICAED

The ICAED was launched officially in September 2007 in Geneva in the presence of family members of disappeared from all over the world.

Family member organisations, human rights NGO’s, experts and a number of States laboured for 25 years to reach the adoption of the Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances by the UN General Assembly. 

The road to the adoption of the Convention was long and arduous. In 1981 the Human Rights Institute of the Paris Bar Association convened a colloquium to discuss the promotion of an international convention on disappearances. The families of disappeared in Latin America developed a text for a convention in the years 1980-1983 that was presented to the UN. A first draft was prepared by the then Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities in 1988. In1992 UN the General Assembly adopted the Declaration to Protect all Persons from Enforced Disappearances.  In 2001 the former Human Rights Commission instigated the negotiations in an intersessional open ended working group to draft the text of a Convention.

It all came together on September 23 2005 in room 12 of ‘Palais des Nations’ in Geneva. The French Ambassador Bernard Kessedjian, chairman/rapporteur of the open ended working group to draft a legally binding instrument for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance during three years, asked for the approval of the text of the Convention. No State objected and the text of the new Convention was approved.

Towards the end of the negotiations at the Working Group family members and human rights NGOs started more and more to unite their efforts and cooperate in joint activities. The joint open letter that was presented at the Human Rights Council is a first outcome of this cooperation.

The text was subsequently approved with consensus by the Human Rights Council (June 2006). 

Several family members were present in New York during the General Assembly meeting in 2006 to talk with country delegations and make sure the Convention would be adopted without a vote.

The Third Committee of the General Assembly (November 2006) and the General Assembly itself (December 20, 2006). 103 States co-sponsored the text in the General Assembly.

After the adoption of the text by the General Assembly the new goal became early ratification and implementation of the Convention by as many countries as possible. And in spite of the approval by the General Assembly with consensus and 103 co-sponsors the position of many States towards the Convention remains ambiguous.

For that reason, civil society organisations looking for quick ratification will have to maximise their impact to make the Convention into an effective instrument against disappearances.

All those concerned with the success of the Convention and the eradication of enforced disappearances realise that power lies in numbers and legitimacy and credibility of  campaign activities is increased by a collective manifestation of strength. 

Therefore the International Coalition against Enforced Disappearaces is established.

On September 26 2007 the International campaign of the ICAED was launched in Geneva during the Human Rights Council Session. The Human Rights Council president was one of the speakers together with ambassadors from all continents.

This Coalition will focus its efforts in the beginning principally on the promotion of the ratification and implementation of the Convention but might decide to broaden its scope to other issues concerning the eradication of enforced disappearances in the future.