UN on Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances reaffirms right of families to know fate of relatives

Observed this Tuesday, the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances reaffirms the need for victims’ families to know the truth about what happened to missing relatives.

Enforced disappearances is a crime which is generally committed by State agents through abduction and arrest, with victims often held in secret detention, says the UN.

Some are subjected to torture and summary execution, while their fate is kept secret, from families and society at large.

The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance entered into force back in 2010, affirming the right of any victim to know the truth about the circumstances of an enforced disappearance, as well as the fate of the disappeared person.

These people are often never released and their fate remains unknown. Victims are frequently tortured and many are killed, or live in constant fear of being killed. They know their families have no idea where they are and that there is little chance anyone is coming to help them. Even if they escape death and are eventually released, the physical and psychological scars stay with them.

The UN said that execution without trial is considered a violation against the human rights. Human rights reports confirm cases of enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention and executions in many countries. In the Middle East, oppressive regimes carry out executions on the basis of confessions obtained under coercion and torture.

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