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57 States that signed on February 6, 2007

Venzuela - On October 21st the Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the United Nations signed the convention. Venzuela made a reservation on article 42, that it does not consider itself obliged to resort to arbitration as a dispute setlement mechanism.

South Africa - As announced at the Conference on the Convention in Pretoria, 26-27 February, 2008, the South African government intends to sign the Convention by April 2008. Read more...

UK - Answer of Secretary of State on June 26, 2007 to question whether the government intends to sign the Convention

UK - The UK Human Rights Annual Report 2007 states that 'the UK did not sign the Convention at the ceremony in Paris on February 6, 2007 because we do not sign international instruments unless we have a firm intention to ratify within a reasonable time frame.' Read more...


The complete list of signatures and ratifications

Jpana and Nigeria - On July 23 and July 27 Japan and Nigeria deposited the ratification of the Convention with the Secretary General of the United Nations.  7 more ratifications are needed for the entry into force. Link to message on site of Japanese MoFA

Ecuador - The Legislative Commission of the Ecuadorian parliament adopted the Convention on July 24 2009, taking the government of Ecuador one step closer to ratification. Link to a news item (in Spanish)

UK - Minster of State Ivan lewis answered a question of MP Tony Baldy on what progress the government has made in the ratification process. Minister Lewis answered that the examination was ongoing and that it was clear that primary legislation would be necessary to permit ratification. Link to the full message

Mali - On July 1, 2009 Mali became the 11th country to deposit the ratification of the Convention with the Secretary General of the UN. Ratification laws were adopted by the Assemblee Nationale and the President of Mali on October 30 and November 7, 2008 (in pdf). There are 9 countries to go till entry into force.

Germany - On May 14 the German Bundestag ratified the Convention making it the second EU country after France to do so. There is no mention of recognition of the competence of the Committee to receive individual or state complaints. You can read the draft law (in pdf) on the site of the Bundestag

Canada - On June 8, 2009 in its views on the conclusions of the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of Canada the Candian government stated that at present it is not considering becoming a party the the CED (Convention on Enforced Disappearances). Paragraph 9 of the Human Rights Council document

Spain - On April 15, 2009 the Spanish Senate authorized ratification of the Convention, following a similar decision of the Spanish Congres in February 2009. Read the decision of the Senate and of the Congres (in PDF)

Cyprus - The Ministry of Justice of Cyprus replied to the letter of the ICAED member in Cyprus, Truth Now. The Ministry stated it has prepared a draft law which has been sent to the Law Office of the Republic. Ratification can be expected somehwere this year. Read the letter (in Greek only)

EP - The European Parliament resolution of 7 May 2009, on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2008 and the European Union's policy on the matter, includes a paragraph on the Convention: 56.  Remains concerned about the true commitment to human rights of European Union Member States that refuse to sign the above-mentioned International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; welcomes the ratification of that convention by Argentina in May 2008, and asks all EU Member States that have not done so to sign and ratify it promptly Link to the website of the EP for the full document

UN GA - As part of the 63rd session the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on the Convention on March 17, 2009,  that was adopted earlier by the Third Committee on October 30, 2008. Read the resolution (in pdf)

UK - On March 23rd the UK Government answered questions in parliament on the status of the ratification. The Government is currently examining the impact on UK law, for instance the introduction of one or more criminal offences. Read the answers (pdf)

Mexico - On february 26, 2009 the Mexican 'Camara de diputados' gave the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 30 days to present the recognition of the competence of the Committee for consideration. Link to the item (halfway the page) In June 2008 - 3 months after ratification by Mexico of the Convention - several Mexican Senators presented a request to recognise the competence of the Committee. Link to the item on website of the Mexican Senate. The Comisión Permanente del honorable Congreso, formally agreed on this request to the Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores.

Human Right Council/UPR - During the 3rd and 4th session of the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Councilm various remarks were made by NGOs and States on enforced disappearances and the Convention. The Nigerian outcome of the reveiw mentions for instance that on January 19 the President signed the instruments of accession to the Convention. 3rd session View the remarks (in pdf), 4th session View the remarks (in pdf)

Council of Europe - On February 4 2009 a motion for a recommendation on the Convention was presented to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe by the Italian member Mr. Gardetto and others. The motion was prepared and proposed by the ICAED member Aim for human rights. Link to the motion on the website of the CoE.

United Nations - The Third Committee of the General Assembly of the Un on November 22 2008 adopted a resolution with consensus calling on States to ratify the Convention. The resolution was proposed by Argentina. The United States joined the consensus. The representative of the United States said he had been pleased to join the consensus, because his Government shared the concern of others on the need to respond decisively on that issue.  Read the resolution


On July 15, 2009 a Mexican Senate Commission wants to request the Prosecuting Office for an investigation into a recent kidnapping/disappearance case in Chiapas (April 14, 2009) while referring explicitly to article 2 of the Convention and the codification in Mexican law. There is no evidence the State is involved but there is a lack of investigation. Link to the article in Spanish

Nepal - On 25 November 2008, the ICAED member, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), released a letter welcoming the Government of Nepal's initiative in drafting the Bill on Disappearances (Crime and Punishment) Act, 2065, but also urging it to adopt a series of amendments. The Bill does not comply with the provisions of the Convention. Read the letter

Mexico - In an article in a Mexican newspaper the relativity of the ratification is underlined. Impunity for all cases of the past, no recognition of the competence of the Committee and continuing disappearances make clear that ratification is not the same as full implementation. Read article (in Spanish)

More on ratifications and implementations...


High Commissioner Louise Arbour during the signing ceremony on February 6 2007 in Paris


Article 39 of the Convention states that

1. This Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of deposit with the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession.

2. For each State ratifying or acceding to this Convention after the deposit of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession, this Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of the deposit of that State's instrument of ratification or accession.

The ratification process can vary between a few months up to several years  dependent on the situation in the country. Its not only the political will that defines the amount of time a ratification takes. Unlike a signature a ratification means that from that moment onwards the State can be held accountable for violation of the provisions mentioned in the Convention. Some countries have to go through the entire process of changing national laws and regulations first before they can ratify the Convention. Other countries might decide to take forward the implementation process after the ratification.

Albania was the first country that deposited its ratification at the United Nations on November 8, 2007.


Implementation can not be caught in one single act like depositing a ratification. Implementation of the convention means that based on an analysis of the provisions of the Convention and the national situation laws, regulations and practices have to be changed and adhered to.

The UN Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances is a very extensive Convention that touches upon a wide range of different laws and regulations.

  • Disappearance should become punishable under penal law
  • Statutes of limitations
  • Criminalise the offence as crime against humanity
  • Make the refusal to share information a crime
  • Absolute prohibition of secret detention
  • Prohibition to use arguments as state secrecy or public security as reason for not informing
  • Make the appropriation of children whose parents are disappeared a crime
  • Maintain official and centralized registers of detainees
  • Guarantee a non-derogable judicial recourse to determine the whereabouts and fate of a person
  • Recognise relatives as being also victims of an enforced disappearance
  • Legal measures for annulations of adoptions rooting in a disappearance

Link to related documents on implementation and disappearance bills