1st Euro-Mediterranean meeting of families of the missing, Beirut, February 2000
Recognising the extent of the phenomenon of enforced disappearances in the Euro-Mediterranean basin, the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH) organised the First Euro-Mediterranean Meeting of Families of the Disappeared in partnership with the Collectif des Familles de Disparu(e)s en Algérie (CFDA) and the movement "Soutien aux Libanais Détenus Arbitrairement" (SOLIDA). From 7 to 11 February 2000, in Paris, Geneva and Brussels, it brought together the families of the 'disappeared' and their representatives from the Euro-Mediterranean region, as well as support committees and national and international human rights NGOs.
At the end of the meeting, the unification of the various movements fighting against enforced disappearances appeared necessary in order to increase the visibility of the movement of families of the 'disappeared' at the international level and to reinforce the work of associations fighting against enforced disappearances in the region. The participants in the meeting decided to create the Euro-Mediterranean Coalition against enforced disappearances. The Final Declaration of the First Euro-Mediterranean Meeting of Representatives and Families of the Disappeared, drawn up on 9 February 2000, established this coalition.
The First Euro-Mediterranean Meeting of Families of the Disappeared was the founding act of the Euro-Mediterranean Coalition against Enforced Disappearances. Given the success of this meeting in terms of exchanges, the FEMED decided to include this activity in its action program.
2nd Euro-Mediterranean meeting of families of the disappeared, Morocco, June 2008
The Second Euro-Mediterranean Meeting of Families of the Disappeared on the theme "The International Convention against Enforced Disappearances and the challenge of Euro-Mediterranean countries" took place on 12, 13 and 14 June 2008 in Rabat (Morocco).
More than a hundred people participated, in particular representatives of associations of families of the disappeared from the Euro-Mediterranean region - Algeria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Cyprus, Spain, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Serbia, Syria and Turkey - as well as experts and professors of international law, human rights activists and organizations from other regions - AFAD, FEDEFAM, FIDH, ICTJ, ICMP, HRW, etc.
The different themes discussed during this conference allowed for several observations and suggestions concerning the victims of enforced disappearances and their families, as well as the human rights movement and the political community of the Euro-Mediterranean basin.
This very enriching conference allowed associations to meet for the first time their counterparts from near and far. During these three days they were able to discuss, exchange information and plan joint actions for the eradication of enforced disappearances in the Mediterranean region.
Through this event, FEMED trained many activists on the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. This Convention, adopted on December 20, 2006 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, is an instrument that will allow to fight more effectively against this practice. It will enter into force after its ratification by twenty countries. The work of this Second Euro-Mediterranean Meeting of Families of the Disappeared ended with an appeal to ratify the Convention: the Rabat Appeal.
After the conference, a delegation - composed of Nassera Dutour, President of the FEMED, Rachid El Manouzi, Secretary General of the FEMED, Boudris Belaid, representative of the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, Eric Goldstein, representative of the International Coalition against Enforced Disappearances and Moussa Salem, representative of the Coordinating Committee of the Families of the Disappeared and Victims of Disappearance in Morocco, met with Mr. Liddidi, Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice and Mr. El Hajoui, Secretary General of the Prime Minister's Office.
In order to close this second Euro-Mediterranean meeting of the families of the disappeared, on June 16, 2008, the FEMED held a press conference in the premises of the Moroccan Organization for Human Rights (OMDH) to present the progress of the conference as well as the meetings with the Moroccan authorities. It is also within this framework that the Rabat Appeal was presented and distributed to the press.
3rd Euro-Mediterranean Meeting of Families of the Disappeared, Turkey, December 2009
Associations of families of the disappeared from all over the region participated in the meeting: Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon, Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia, Iraq, Cyprus, Spain and Turkey. In addition, several local and international NGOs working alongside these associations in the fight against enforced disappearances were present. Many international experts were invited to speak at the event. 120 people, including 60 international guests, participated in this meeting.
From 11 to 13 December 2009, the Third Euro-Mediterranean Meeting of Families of the Disappeared was held in Istanbul (Turkey). The theme of this meeting was "transitional justice and enforced disappearances". Truth commissions are used as transitional and semi-legal tools in countries where serious human rights violations have occurred. For most families of the disappeared, this is one of the solutions to be considered in order to obtain the Truth. With this in mind, the meeting was organized around interventions with theoretical and practical dimensions in order to educate, inform and serve as a starting point for discussions. Following this meeting, the Ordinary General Assembly of the FEMED was held, which brought together about forty participants.
It should be noted that this activity was organized in partnership with the local associations YAKAY-DER, Mothers for Peace, IHD, and the International Center for Transitional Justice. The realization of this event would have been impossible without the support of Aim for Human Rights, the Catalan Agency for Cooperation and Development (ACCD), the Soros Foundation, the Catholic Committee against Hunger and for Development (CCFD) and the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH).
After the meeting, a delegation composed of the FEMED and Turkish associations of families of the disappeared went to Ankara to meet the authorities: the Director of Foreign Affairs of the Ministry of Justice, the Director of the Council of Europe and Human Rights at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Vice President of the Presidency of Human Rights in the Prime Minister's Office.
The delegation brought to the attention of the representatives the importance of signing and ratifying as soon as possible the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Finally, the FEMED stated that the State's anti-terrorist policy should not be used as a pretext or as a guarantee for the authorities to perpetrate human rights violations, including enforced disappearances.
4th Euro-Mediterranean meeting of families of the disappeared, Beirut, November 2013
On November 23 and 24, 2013, the 4th Euro-Mediterranean meeting of associations of families of the disappeared took place in Beirut, Lebanon, on the theme "Enforced disappearances, Truth and the Fight against Impunity". The meeting was organized by the Euro-Mediterranean Federation against Enforced Disappearances (FEMED) in partnership with its member associations in Lebanon, namely the Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH), the Support Association for Lebanese in Detention and Exile (SOLIDE) and the Committee of Families of Kidnapped or Missing Persons in Lebanon (CFKD).
This meeting was divided into working panels:
The first panel was on the "State of ratifications of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Opportunities and challenges". The second panel focused on "The fight against impunity: definition, principles and challenges". The third panel dealt with "Duty to remember, information gathering & assessment of the needs of families of the disappeared".
The willingness of some FEMED member associations to set up information collection programs according to modalities similar to those of the ICRC questionnaire allowed for an in-depth discussion on this subject. Thus, the need to take into account the local context, the essentiality of access to families from all sides (the case of Libya was discussed in particular) and the need to take an interest in the different cases of enforced disappearances carried out in the State (ethnic, religious, political) are all elements to be taken into account in order to avoid political instrumentalization of organizations or security problems.
The fourth panel focused on "Enforced disappearances, the fight against impunity and universal jurisdiction". The fifth and last panel dealt exclusively with : "The place of women in transitional justice processes and the fight against impunity".