To mark the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on 30 August, the United Nations (UN) human rights experts have called on states to further recognize the connection between enforced disappearance and economic, social, and cultural rights (ESCR), in order to better prevent enforced disappearances in a holistic way.
Be it sudden arrest, detention, or abduction, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the fate of those people, enforced disappearance has extended to millions of people worldwide. In October 2020, Mohammed Ayat, Chair of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances at the UN, warned that tens of millions of disappearances are perpetrated around the world, with the daily number climbing towards 1,000 a day. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the impact on victims of enforced disappearances and their relatives.
With these alarming statistics, the UN human rights experts described enforced disappearance as “a complex crime that violates all ranges of rights, including ESCR”.
“The lack of effective protection of ESCR is a contributing factor to enforced disappearances and the people living in poverty are more vulnerable and exposed to higher risk of enforced disappearances,” they said in a statement.
The UN human rights experts have called on all States to take all measures that are necessary to avoid the additional suffering caused by the social, economic, and cultural consequences of enforced disappearance. They have urged States to address the fact that enforced disappearances put family and relatives in a very challenging position, especially when the employee of the family is disappeared.
The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance was adopted in 2010. In force since 1976, the ESCR states that all people have the right of self-determination, and by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.