Treaty against Enforced Disappearance to Be Overwhelmingly Ratified

07-02-2007 , ed. Kommersant

The International Convention against Enforced Disappearance was signed in Paris on Tuesday. The document bans secret detention and unsanctioned imprisonment and carries criminal liability for these actions. European nations are expected to be the first to sign on to the treaty as the EU is seeing a major scandal involving CIA agents operating in the Old World. Russia has not expressed its position on the convention.
The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 20, 2006, is open to be ratified. Convention signatories will pledge to prosecute in its territory people suspected of carrying out “enforced disappearances” anywhere in the world unless the state extradites the suspects to another country or surrenders them to an international criminal court. The Convention requires states to institute stringent safeguards for protect people deprived of their liberty, including an absolute ban on secret detention.

Human rights activists have recorded more than 50,000 enforced disappearances worldwide in the last 25 years. Most of them took place in Colombia, Nepal and Russia’s North Caucasus. Cases of secret detention were first discovered in Europe last year when media reported that CIA agencies kidnapped Europeans suspected of terrorism or sent them to prisons in Europe. The scandal cast a shadow on 14 European countries, which is sure to speed up the ratification of the treaty in the EU.

Amnesty International has called the paper “one of the most forceful human rights conventions ever adopted by the UN” in terms of potential effectiveness.

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