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ICRC applauds adoption of UN Convention against enforced disappearance

20-12-2006 News Release 06/143

The adoption of the Convention against enforced disappearance is a sign of hope for the future.

The support it received from a large number of States at the UN General Assembly is reassuring. We trust that it will be widely and swiftly ratified and implemented by States all over the world, " says Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Today, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. For the first time, an international treaty requires states to incorporate the crime of enforced disappearance into their domestic legislation and to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of such crimes.

The Convention outlaws secret detention and requires that States hold all detainees in officially recognized places, maintain up-to-date official registers and detailed records of all detainees, allow them to communicate with their families and counsel, and give access to competent and authorized authorities.

These are all critical measures for preventing enforced disappearance and for minimizing the risk of torture and death. The Convention also establishes the right of families to know the fate and whereabouts of relatives who have been detained.

The ICRC always insists on the above measures when it visits places of detention and welcomes their inclusion in the new Convention.

For further information, please contact:
  Antonella NOTARI -
  ICRC Geneva, tel : +41 22 730 22 82 or ++ 41 79 217 32 80