The increase and “normalisation” of enforce disappearances and abductions worldwide (UN Statement)

The ICJ today put the spotlight the increase and “normalisation” of enforce disappearances and abductions worldwide, with examples about Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The statement, made during the general debate, reads as follows:

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) shares concerns highlighted by the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances in its report (UN doc. A/HRC/42/40) at the “increasing use of extraterritorial abductions” and at the “normalization of these practices” globally. ICJ previously documented such practices in our 2017 report, Transnational Injustices.

The killing of Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia is an example of particular concern, as is the reported abduction, by Turkish authorities, of persons they claim to be linked to “terrorist organisations.” Several of these people, who later reappeared in Turkish prisons, are currently facing serious challenges in mounting a proper legal defence. Complaints of the families have not been properly investigated.

In Egypt, the National Security Agency (NSA) has been abducting and forcibly disappearing hundreds as a technique to suppress dissent. This year, the ICJ and Adalah reported on the disappearance of 138 detainees for between 10 to 219 days, many of whom were subjected to torture.

The ICJ urges the Council to address these worrying developments and calls on all countries:

  • to stop all practices of enforced disappearance, abduction or informal international transfer;
  • to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and
  • to provide to the victims of enforced disappearance and their families full access to their rights, including an effective remedy.


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