Enforced disappearances: Report by Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of Parliamentary Assembly of Europe

19 September 2005

Enforced disappearances


Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Rapporteur: Mr Christos Pourgourides, Cyprus, Group of the European People’s Party


The draft resolution unequivocally condemns enforced disappearance as a very serious human rights violation on par with torture and murder and it is concerned that this humanitarian scourge is still not eradicated, even in Europe.

In view of the inability, and in rare cases the unwillingness, of some states to provide effective protection, a well-defined international legal framework is also of utmost importance.

Unfortunately, a number of important gaps still exist in the international legal framework, regarding inter alia the definition of enforced disappearance, the precise extent of states’ obligations to prevent, investigate and sanction such crimes and the status of the victims and their relatives.

The draft resolution therefore welcomes the progress made by the United Nations Intersessional open-ended working group to elaborate a draft legally binding normative instrument for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance at its 4th session in January/February 2005 and urges it to agree on a draft convention in good time for the United Nations” Commission on Human Rights to adopt it at its 62nd session in the spring of 2006.

As regards the content of the future binding instrument, the draft resolution lays down a number of points pertaining to the definition of enforced disappearance, safeguards against impunity, preventive measures, the victims’ right to reparation and the monitoring mechanism which it considers essential.

It proposes to examine, in the second semester of 2006, the results achieved in the framework of the United Nations and any new initiatives that may be required from the Council of Europe in order to achieve the desired level of protection against enforced disappearances.

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