Protection: UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances publishes findings on Czech Republic, Mali and Uruguay

Geneva, 27 September, 2022.- The UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) today issued its findings on the Czech Republic, Mali and Uruguay after reviewing the three States parties during its latest session.

The findings contain the Committee’s main concerns and recommendations on the implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, as well as positive aspects. Key highlights include:

The Czech Republic
The Committee was concerned that the Czech Republic had not yet brought its legislative framework in line with the Convention and, in particular, without incorporating enforced disappearance as an autonomous offence and a crime against humanity. In addition, it made several recommendations for the State party to ensure systematic and strict respect for the principle of non-refoulement in cases where there are substantial grounds to believe that the person in question would be at risk of enforced disappearance.

The Committee was disturbed by reports that many unaccompanied minors left the Facility for Children of Foreign Nationals in Prague without available records on their subsequent whereabouts. It called on the State party to take effective measures to prevent the disappearance of children from reception centres and to search for and identify those children who may have been the victims of wrongful removal.

The Committee was gravely concerned by the alleged widespread enforced disappearances committed including by the Malian Armed Forces, the General Directorate of State Security (DGSE), or by armed groups acting under the control, authorisation or acquiescence of the State. The Committee was also concerned about the reports of numerous mass graves discovered on Malian territory. It urged Mali to intensify its efforts to ensure that all cases of enforced disappearance are investigated immediately, and that suspected State agents are suspended from the outset of the investigation. It also called on Mali to guarantee that the identification of disappeared persons is effectively integrated into the missions and purposes of the Forensic Directorate and the DNA processing centre.

The Committee recalled the constraints faced by Malian women with regard to inheritance and access to social benefits. It recommended that the State party ensure all women and girl relatives of disappeared persons can enjoy all the rights enshrined in international law, including the Convention, without restrictions.

Regarding the alleged enforced disappearances that took place between 1968-1985, the Committee noted with concern the slow progress in the ongoing investigations and trials, as well as in the search for those who remain disappeared. It called upon Uruguay to take all necessary measures to expedite the prosecution process and to redouble its efforts to search for the disappeared. It also asked Uruguay to guarantee and facilitate full reparation for victims and adopt a memory education policy for the grave human rights violations that occurred during that period.

The Committee welcomed Uruguay’s measures in the fields of justice, truth and reparation. It, however, recommended that Uruguay harmonise its domestic legislation with the International Convention, including the minimum penalty for the crime of enforced disappearance, the definition of victim, and crimes involving the wrongful removal of children.

The above findings, officially known as Concluding Observations, are now available on the session webpage.

The Committee also adopted its list of Issues for Morocco and Ukraine.

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