As the United Nations marks the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, Contra Nocendi Cameroon and Contra Nocendi International draw attention to the fact that enforced disappearances of people is a huge, widespread and global issue requiring urgent attention.
The day has been observed on August 30 every year, starting on 2011.
According to the UN, enforced disappearances has been used as a tactic to create and spread terror in societies and it not only affects the close relatives of those who go missing, but their community as a whole. It used to be seen only in military dictatorships but now it is becoming increasingly common in conflict zones around the world with the forced disappearance of opponents being used as a tool for political control.
There are three main concerns with this year’s international day against enforced disappearance: the harassment of human rights defenders, relatives of the victims, witnesses and legal counsel working on such cases, the states using counter-terrorist activities as an excuse for breaching their obligations, and how perpetrators get away without being punished for causing enforced disappearances.
Contra Nocendi supports the UN in drawing attention to these concerns and in also giving special focus to vulnerable groups like children and people with disabilities. We also urge all the countries to provide the affected families with access to look into the cases of disappearance, and investigate them thoroughly and impartially and also provide the victims’ families with remedies.