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Committee on Enforced Disappearances closes twenty-first session after adopting concluding observations on Brazil, Panama, Spain and France

24 September 2021

The Committee on Enforced Disappearances this afternoon closed its twenty-first session after adopting its concluding observations on the initial reports of Brazil and Panama, and on supplementary information submitted by Spain and France.

Juan Pablo Alban Alencastro, Committee Rapporteur, presented the report of the session held from 13 to 24 September.  Two new members had presented their solemn oaths - Suela Janina and Juan Pablo Albán Alencastro.  At its opening session, as part of its testimony to victims of enforced disappearance, the Committee had heard directly from one victim. 

The Committee had adopted its concluding observations on the initial reports of Brazil and Panama and on supplementary information submitted by Spain and France in accordance with article 29.4 of the Convention.  In preparation for future consideration of reports, the Committee had adopted lists of issues relating to the reports submitted by Mauritania, Mali and Costa Rica. 

The Rapporteur said that the Committee had held a meeting with States.  It had held discussions about its working methods at its session, in particular on its powers under article 29.4 of the Convention.  Other matters raised included the urgent actions mechanism, the analysis of information on alleged systematic or generalised practices of enforced disappearance, the portfolio of State reports pending for analysis, and other items.  Notably, the Committee had decided to begin the process for the future adoption of a general comment on enforced disappearances in the context of migration, as well as a declaration on non-State actors and enforced disappearances.   

Carmen Rosa Villa Quintana, Chairperson of the Committee, noted that at its first meeting, the Committee had paid tribute to victims of enforced disappearances around the world through hearing the testimony of a victim who had spoken from Pakistan.  The Committee had held dialogues with Brazil and Panama, and with Spain and France.  Some might ask what the hybrid format meant, she said, explaining that some had been able to be present in the room, while others had participated remotely, enabling fluid dialogues with the four States.  The concluding observations were the results of those exchanges.  The Committee’s interaction with civil society had been fruitful and useful for its work.  She underscored that 53 organizations from around the world had participated in the work of the Committee, which was key to making progress against enforced disappearances. 

There was a constant increase in the amount of urgent actions brought to the attention of the Committee, Ms. Villa Quintana said.  The Committee had recommended to States that they must launch the search process for the disappeared, with the goal of finding them alive.  All States should make use of the Guiding Principles, which was a valuable resource which could contribute toward bringing about efficient results.  The Committee’s mandate required constant evolution as to its working methods and it had thus held a debate on enforced disappearances in the context of migration.  The Committee had met with the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, which represented the Committee’s first coordination with a regional body.  The victims needed all stakeholders to take action to eradicate enforced disappearances.  

All documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, can be found on the session’s webpage, where documents relating to the Committee’s reviews of Brazil, Panama, Spain and France will soon be available.  The webcast of the Committee’s public meetings can be accessed at http://webtv.un.org/.  The meetings coverage releases can be found here.

The dates of the Committee’s twenty-second session will be announced later.

Link: https://www.ungeneva.org/en/news-media/meeting-summary/2021/09/committee-enforced-disappearances-closes-twenty-first-session

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For use of the information media; not an official record