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UN rights council endorses treaty banning enforced disappearances

[JURIST] The UN Human Rights Council [official website] on Thursday adopted a resolution [press release] endorsing the draft International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance [PDF text], which would require signatories to refrain from engaging in forced disappearances [Wikipedia backgrounder; UNHCHR materials]. The convention defines forced disappearances as "detention, abduction, or deprivation of liberty by state agents followed by a refusal to acknowledge deprivation and a placing of the disappeared outside the protection of the law." The practice was especially common in the 1970s and '80s under dictatorships in Latin America, and more than 500 recent disappearances were reported to UN agencies last year. The newly formed rights council unanimously adopted the document, ending what diplomats described as long negotiations. The convention now goes to the UN General Assembly [official website] for final approval.

The US chose not to seek a seat [JURIST report] in this first year of the Human Rights Council, after opposing its creation [JURIST report]. Although the UN expressed disappointment [JURIST report] at the Bush administration's decision not to seek a seat, the US has said it may run for a position next year. Reuters has more. The UN News Centre has additional coverage.

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