UN rights experts urge greater efforts to find disappeared persons
UN rights experts urge greater efforts to find disappeared persons

[JURIST] The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances [official website] on Friday urged [press release] countries to increase efforts to search for disappeared persons. Chairman of the group Ariel Dulitzky [official profile], in addressing the 47 members of the UN Human Rights Council [official website], stated, “One person is probably being disappeared in one of your countries as we are talking.” Dulitzky also said:

[In many countries, governments have] more information on the number of mobile phones there than on the number of disappeared persons. … The time for words and promises is over. It is now the time for action on behalf of relatives to support their fight for truth, justice, reparation and memory.

He noted that it is worrisome that the Working Group continues to receive daily cases of disappeared persons around the world. Dulitzky also visited the Western Balkans to present the Working Group’s reports on disappeared persons, following up visits to Mexico and Timor-Leste on the same topic.

Lack of government efforts to search for disappeared persons continues to be a worldwide issue, including notable recent events in Mexico. In February the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances published a report detailing concluding observations on the large number of recent disappearances in Mexico [JURIST report]. The report indicated that authorities are often involved in enforcing the disappearances of its citizens. In January Amnesty International (AI) criticized [JURIST report] the government of Mexico for their “failed” investigation of the army in the “enforced disappearance” of 43 students on September 26, 2014, claiming that it was incomplete and insufficient, after DNA collected from a mass grave of burned bodies proved inconclusive at this time. AI also called out the Mexican government in 2013 when it said [JURIST report] that the government must investigate the disappearances of thousands of people and acknowledge the government’s involvement in the disappearances. AI’s report said 26,121 people were reported disappeared or missing between December 2006 and December 2012, but 40 percent of the cases were not investigated.