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UN urges member states to ratify convention to combat enforced disappearances

Mexican arrest
[JURIST] Multiple UN experts on Tuesday urged [press release] all member states to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance [text, PDF] as the rates of enforced disappearances are increasing in multiple countries in every region around the world. The experts argued that in today’s political climate, it is unacceptable that enforced disappearances, a wide-spread practice in which persons are secretly abducted or even imprisoned by state actors or third parties acting with the government’s support, continue to transpire on every continent. They further argued that the convention would put in place many legal changes which will reduce and prevent enforced disappearances. Among these changes is a requirement to hold individuals “deprived of their liberty” in detention centers which are officially recognized. Additionally, the convention would require the government to acknowledge the identity of all such persons to the general public. The experts also argued that member states should begin to aid and enable human right workers who are currently combating the issue of enforced disappearances.

While enforced disappearance has been a worldwide problem, the most well-documented recent case of disappearance took place in Mexico in 2014. In 2016, a panel of experts released [JURIST report] its second and last report on its inquiry into the 43 undergraduate students from a teachers college in Ayotzinapa who went missing in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico, in 2014, stating that the Mexican government has hampered the investigation. In January 2016 three men were arrested [JURIST report] for their possible connection to the disappearance as part of the government’s story. In November 2015 Mexico’s own National Human Rights Commission criticized [JURIST report] the Mexican Attorney General’s Office and other government offices involved in the investigation for failing to comply with its recommendations. In October 2015 Human Rights Watch reported [JURIST report] that there was evidence of unlawful police killing in the country. Also, in October 2015 Mexican Attorney General Arely Gómez González released [JURIST report] a 54,000 page file detailing the Mexican government’s investigation. This will be the second time [JURIST report] that UN affiliates have called on all governments to make a concerted effort to fight against enforced disappearances.

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