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8 April 2019

The Committee on Enforced Disappearances this morning opened its sixteenth session at the Palais Wilson in Geneva, during which it will examine the initial reports of Italy, Chile and Peru on their implementation of the provisions of the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The Committee heard a statement by Maja Andrijasevic-Boko, Chief a.i. Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Section, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, observed a minute of silence in remembrance of victims of enforced disappearances, and adopted its agenda and programme of work for the session.

Addressing the Committee, Ms. Andrijasevic-Boko reminded that the Human Rights Committee had adopted a General Comment on the right to life in October 2018.  The General Comment underscored that enforced disappearances represented a great threat to the right to life and elaborated on the obligation of States to prevent or investigate all cases of enforced disappearance, bring perpetrators to justice and provide full reparation to victims.  It also made it clear that families of victims should under no circumstances be obliged to declare them dead to be eligible for reparation, and that States should provide them with means to regularize their legal status in relation to the disappeared persons.

The General Assembly resolution on missing persons adopted in January 2019 (A/RES/73/178) made explicit reference to the Convention, encouraging States to sign, ratify and accede to it as a matter of priority, as well as consider the options provided for in articles 31 and 32.  Ms. Andrijasevic-Boko noted that Mexico had fully accepted all the recommendations about enforced disappearances that it had received during the Universal Periodic Review in November, including one which would recognize the competence of the Committee to receive individual and inter-State communications.

On the annual meeting of the Chairs of the treaty bodies at the end of June in New York, Ms. Andrijasevic-Boko said it would be the last formal opportunity for them to meet before the review of the treaty body system, which should take place by 9 April 2020.  It was important to make use of remaining opportunities to reflect on contributions that the Committees wished to make in the context of the 2020 review.  

Ms. Andrijasevic-Boko then recalled that the General Assembly had requested in its resolution 73/162 that the Secretary-General’s next biennial report on the status of the treaty body system be submitted in January 2020, ahead of the review.  Given that the report would have to be finalized by September, the Office had requested inputs from States and stakeholders on the implementation of resolution 68/268 and on the 2020 review by 30 April 2019.  The Secretary-General’s report would certainly highlight the lessons learned from the implementation of resolution 68/268 as well as address some of the procedures and activities that were not adequately funded or for which resources were underestimated or not included in the formula.  She expressed hope that the outcome would bring the necessary solutions to allow the system to function effectively and make a difference at the national level for rights-holders.

Suela Janina, Committee Chairperson, in her remarks, reiterated the Committee’s commitment to work in a productive manner for the benefit of victims of enforced disappearances.

The Committee then adopted the agenda and programme of work for the session, and observed a minute of silence in remembrance of victims of enforced disappearances.

All the documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, can be found at the
session’s webpage. The webcast of the Committee’s public meetings is available via the following link: http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/.

The Committee will next meet in public at 3 p.m. this afternoon, to consider the initial report of Italy (

For use of the information media; not an official record


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