Geneva, September 23, 2020: The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) recently participated in a joint online side event entitled ‘Search and Investigating Cases of Enforced Disappearances’, which took place on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the launch of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) and 10 years since the entry into force of the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
The event was organized by the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) and the WGEID on the margins of the 122nd session of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and the 19th session of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, with the participation of the Special Rapporteur of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances Mr. Luciano Hazan, and members of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, the envoys of France and Japan to the United Nations, and a number of experts in forensic medicine, with the session chaired by Mr. Olivier de Frouville , a member of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances.
The objectives of the event included defining states’ obligations to conduct effective search and investigations in cases of enforced disappearances, promoting the adoption of comprehensive domestic legal and policy frameworks for effective search and investigation, promoting the universal ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and underlining the central importance of the complementary nature of the investigative work and searching for victims of enforced disappearances, and identifying recurring obstacles in law, policy and practice related to search and investigation.
The event also aimed to promote and illustrate the central role of enabling the effective participation of relatives and civil society organisations in the search and investigation processes, and to promote the implementation of the CED Guiding Principles for the Search for Disappeared Persons and the WGEID recommendations on effective investigations, in addition to strengthening stakeholders’ commitment and mobilization to tackle impunity in the context of cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances.
Three of the speakers, Rainer Huhle, Maria Clara and Galvis Patiño, all of whom are former members of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, spoke about the principles of the Committee in the search for disappeared persons, while Mr. Luciano Hazan spoke about the Working Groups’ report on standards and public policies for an effective investigation of enforced disappearances. In an address by Ms. Estela de Carlotto, the president of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo Organization (Argentina), she spoke about her personal experience and expertise in investigations and searches to disclose the fate of the forcibly disappeared.