Enforced disappearance: UN and regional human rights experts call for justice for victims without delay

Geneva, 29 August, 2023.- UN and regional** human rights experts urged all States to provide effective access to justice for victims of enforced disappearance, that include any individual who has suffered harm as the direct result of an enforced disappearance.

“Ensuring the victims’ right to justice requires taking all necessary steps to uncover the truth,” the experts said in a statement ahead of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

They warned that ensuring adequate access to justice and proper accountability for perpetrators at all levels of the chain of command is critical to convey a strong message that enforced disappearance – a crime under international human rights law – is not permitted or tolerated.

“In their daily struggle for justice, victims often face threats, intimidation, reprisals and stigmatisation. This must end, and victims must have access to free legal aid to ensure that their financial situation does not prevent them from seeking justice”, the experts said.

In the context of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance, the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights, the Chairperson of the Working Group on Death Penalty, Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Representatives of Indonesia and Malaysia to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights jointly called on all States to make pledges to promote justice for all victims of enforced disappearances without delay, and to ratify international and regional instruments on enforced disappearances.

“Access to justice must not be merely theoretical, but guaranteed in practice through concrete measures that promote and fully value the genuine and meaningful participation of victims and their representatives throughout the process,” the experts said.

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