The International Coalition against Enforced Disappearances

Organizations of families of the disappeared, human rights NGOs, experts and a number of States worked for more than 25 years to achieve the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The road to the adoption of the Convention was long and arduous.

In 1981, the Human Rights Institute of the Paris Bar organized a colloquium to discuss the promotion of an international convention on disappearances.

In the same spirit, in the years 1980-1983, the families of the disappeared in Latin America elaborated a draft text of a convention, which was presented to the UN. A first draft of the instrument was presented by the Sub-Commission on Human Rights in 1988. It was not until 1992 that the UN General Assembly finally adopted the Declaration for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. In 2001, the former Commission on Human Rights began negotiations on a text that would later become the Convention.

The process was completed on 23 September 2005 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. French Ambassador Bernard Kessedjian, then Chair/Rapporteur of the Working Group that had been working for three years to develop a "legally binding instrument for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance", asked for approval of the text of the Convention. No State objected, and the text of the new Convention was approved. The text was subsequently approved unanimously by the Human Rights Council (June 2006), the Third Committee of the General Assembly (November 2006) and the General Assembly itself (20 December 2006). 103 states co-sponsored the text in the General Assembly. After the adoption of the text by the General Assembly, the new objective became the rapid ratification and implementation of the Convention in as many countries as possible. Indeed, despite the unanimous approval by the General Assembly and the high number of co-sponsors, the position of many States towards the Convention remains ambiguous

This is why civil society organizations that want a speedy ratification will have to join their efforts to transform the Convention into an effective instrument against disappearances. All those who have a stake in the success of the Convention are aware that their power can grow with their numbers and that the legitimacy and credibility of lobbying and campaigning activities can be greatly enhanced by a collective show of strength. 

This is why the International Coalition against Enforced Disappearances was created (see photo of ICAED Steering Committee members at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, on the left). Its main immediate objective is to promote the rapid ratification and full and effective implementation of the Convention. In the future, the Coalition may decide to broaden its action to other issues concerning the eradication of enforced disappearances.

FEMED is a member of the Steering Committee of the International Coalition against Enforced Disappearances: www.icaed.org

International Day Against Enforced Disappearances

The FEMED, in collaboration with its member associations (families of the 'disappeared' from Morocco and Algeria), organized an informative demonstration on a well-known square in Paris, the Place de la Bastille, on the occasion of the International Day in memory of the 'disappeared' on 30 August 2008. (See photo at left of the International Day in Memory of the Disappeared, Place de la Bastille, Paris)

On this occasion, several activities were organized: awareness raising on enforced disappearances throughout the Euro-Mediterranean basin by making documentation available, projection of films on disappearances in Morocco and Algeria as well as photo exhibitions on disappearances in Morocco, Algeria and Turkey.

This event was part of the international campaign for the ratification of the Convention, launched by the ICAED, of which the FEMED is a member. Thus, FEMED requested meetings with various Ambassadors of the States of the region, present in Paris, in order to raise awareness about enforced disappearances in the Euro-Mediterranean basin and the need to put an end to this practice by ratifying the Convention.