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UN experts urge States to stop looking the other way

GENEVA (11 September 2019) – States around the world must act urgently to prevent enforced disappearances rather than looking the other way, said a group of UN human rights experts.

“It is our responsibility to alert the Human Rights Council and the international community as a whole, of what we are witnessing as a Working Group,” said Bernard Duhaime, Chair of the Working Group, after presenting the group’s latest annual report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Duhaime said the global trend in deteriorating human rights was underlined by a number of worrisome developments in the area of enforced disappearances.

“The increasing use of extraterritorial abductions by a number of States; the adoption of regressive legislation and measures in the area of truth, justice and reparations; and the proliferation of acts of reprisals towards relatives and civil society organisations, are only a few examples of what we face in the current climate,” he said.

“A number of States are also increasingly justifying the use of enforced disappearances under the pretext of combating terrorism, including through the adoption of legal provisions that facilitate the occurrence of enforced disappearance and incommunicado detention.

“The silence and lack of reaction on the part of the international community could be interpreted as a normalisation of these practices, which are in clear breach of international human rights law. The Working Group finds these trends extremely concerning,” he added.

In addition to the annual report, Duhaime also presented a report on the Working Group’s visit to Ukraine, as well as follow-up reports on the recommendations made by the Working Group after past visits to Peru and Sri Lanka.

“We stand ready to assist these Governments in the implementation of the recommendations made following our visits to their countries,” he concluded.


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