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Empty Chairs

The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED), is the first legally binding instrument dealing specifically with enforced disappearances. Its upcoming 10th anniversary, on 23 December 2020, is a welcome opportunity to reflect on the progresses achieved and the remaining challenges in the area of enforced disappearances.

In the last decade, important achievements have been made, thanks to the tireless work of civil society groups, domestic institutions of certain states as well as international institutions. For 40 years, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) has been offering valuable guidance in this regard to all UN member States. Regarding the State parties of the ICPPED, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) monitors their implementation of the Convention in an intensive, tailored dialogue.

Yet, the 10th anniversary carries a bitter note: the repeated condemnations by the international community, UN experts and civil society organisations as “a particularly heinous crime” contrast with a rather lethargic ratification process, with only 63 State parties as of today. Meanwhile, it is estimated that 1 000 persons are forcibly disappeared every day, in countries all over the world. The traumatic impact is not limited to the disappeared persons themselves, but also affects their relatives, confronted with the daunting absence and uncertainty as to the fate and whereabouts of their loved one. Enforced disappearances also impact the wider community, spreading anguish and irreversibly changing the existing social structure. The rising number of reported cases and their geographically dispersed presence prove that enforced disappearances are indeed a pressing matter of international concern.

With this Symposium, starting on International Human Rights Day and ending on the ICPPED’s anniversary, we hope to contribute to mainstreaming the phenomenon of enforced disappearances within the human rights debate. We also aim to deepen and diversify the knowledge on enforced disappearances, creating an interdisciplinary debate beyond the confines of academia.

We present a selection of 18 open access contribuition resembling voices of victims, civil society actors , representatives of different human rights bodies (UN CED, UN WGEID, IACHR), as well as international experts from various disciplines.

Völkerrechtsblog invites you to join the debate!

Avenues for victims of enforced disappearances in The Gambia

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99’000 disappeared and counting

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Setting precedents at the UN

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An unattainable dream

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New wine in old bottles

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Unlocatable Violence

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(Enforced) disappearances – when state and criminal perpetrators blur

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Excluding enforced disappearances from military jurisdiction

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Bringing home the remains of forcibly disappeared persons

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The vicious cycle of impunity

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The Committee on Enforced Disappearances

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Non-judicial search for disappeared persons

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Disappeared migrants and refugees

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A precursor to comprehensive perspectives on Enforced Disappearances

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A decade of victim-centred approaches

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My story: a case of enforced disappearance

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Empty chairs

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Call for Contributions: Symposium on Enforced Disappearances

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