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UN Committee On Enforced Disappearances Issues Findings On Brazil, Panama, France And Spain

GENEVA (30 September 2021) – The UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) has issued its findings on Brazil, Panama France and Spain, the four States parties which it examined during its latest session.

The findings contain positive aspects of each country's implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance as well as the Committee's main concerns and recommendations. Some of the key highlights include:

Brazil

The Committee welcomed the establishment of the National Policy for the Search of Disappeared Persons and the National Registry for Disappeared Persons. It was however concerned about recent allegations of enforced disappearances, mostly against people of African descent and people living in slums or on the peripheries of big cities. The Committee also expressed concern about the enforced disappearances that happened between 1964 and 1985 during the military dictatorship.

The CED recommended that Brazil redouble its efforts to tackle discrimination against targeted vulnerable groups as a means for preventing enforced disappearances. It called on the State party to remove any legal impediments to the investigations into the enforced disappearances perpetrated during the military regime, including those that may result of the application of the Amnesty Law.

Panama

The Committee welcomed Panama’s legislation to include enforced disappearance in the Criminal Code. It however expressed concerns over the difficulties encountered by the State party in tackling disappearance of migrants in the Darién jungle, the mass graves located along the Darién jungle migration route, as well as the lack of investigation and impunity of these cases.

The experts called on Panama to strengthen cooperation with other countries in the region to promote the search for disappeared migrants and to investigate their disappearance. They also recommended that the State party establish an updated database of disappeared migrants to facilitate their search and identification.

France

The Committee took note of the various measures taken by France to comply with its obligation under the Convention after its previous report in 2013. The Committee appreciated the State party's inclusion of enforced disappearance among the acts that may constitute a crime against humanity. Nevertheless, it regretted that the State party has not implemented the Committee’s previous recommendation about enforced disappearance as a crime against humanity in so far as it maintains its reference to the need of a “concerted plan” so that the enforced disappearance can be criminalized as a crime against humanity. While taking note of the practice in that regard, the Committee reiterated its recommendation that domestic legislation remove this.

Spain

The Committee acknowledged the steps taken by Spain to fulfil its obligation to the Convention after its previous report in 2013. The Committee welcomed the drafting of the Bill on Democratic Memory. It was however concerned at aspects of the legislation, such as the exclusion of compensation and the absence of measures to remove legal obstacles to criminal investigation of enforced disappearance. The Committee recommended that the State party take necessary measures to ensure the prompt adoption of the Bill and guarantee that the provisions adopted will enable full compliance with the Convention.

The Committee welcomed the presentation of the Bill on Babies Stolen in Spain in March 2020. However, it regretted that the bill has been in the Justice Committee of the Congress of Deputies since then without progress. The Committee urged the State party to speed up the process to adopt the proposed Bill, to intensify its efforts to search for and identify children who may have been victims of enforced disappearance or abduction that happened decades ago; and to investigate those allegedly responsible.

The above findings, officially named Concluding Observations, are now available online on the session webpage.

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