30 August: International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances
The International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances was observed across the world on 30 August 2017.
The day was first observed in 2011 after a declaration by the United Nations Generally Assembly. The declaration followed the adoption of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance by the assembly on 20 December 2006.
On 21 December 2010, by its resolution 65/209 the UN General Assembly expressed its deep concern about the increase in enforced or involuntary disappearances in various regions of the world, including arrest, detention and abduction.
The assembly also expressed its concern over the growing number of reports concerning harassment, ill-treatment and intimidation of witnesses of disappearances or relatives of persons who have disappeared.
What are Enforced Disappearances?
According to the UN General Assembly’s Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, an enforced disappearance occurs when:
- People are arrested, detained or abducted against their will by officials of different branches or levels of Government or by organized groups/ private individuals acting on behalf of or with the support of the Government.
- The abducting/ detaining authority refuses to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the people concerned or refuses to acknowledge the deprivation of their liberty, which places such people outside the protection of the law.
Who is affected?
• The victims themselves are affected the most as not only are they subjected to frequent torture but they are also in constant fear for their lives.
• They are well aware that their location is unknown and that the chances are slim that anyone will come to their aid.
• They are deprived of all their rights as a human being and are left at the mercy of their captors.
• Enforced disappearances also generally violate various economic, social and cultural rights for both the victims as well as their families:
- The right to protection and assistance to the family
- The right to an adequate standard of living
- The right to health
- The right to education
Though enforced disappearances were once largely seen as a product of military dictatorships, it has now become a global problem, as it is not restricted to a specific region of the world.
What: Was observed globally
When: 30 August 2017
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