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30 August, 2017

The World Day Against Enforced Disappearance

30 August 2017

Have you ever put yourself in the place of a mother whose son has been disappeared for months or even years, and she doesn’t know his whereabouts, in case he is alive, or the place of his grave in case he is dead?

Have you ever put yourself in the place of a detained person who is blindfolded and put in a dark cellar for days or months, where he doesn’t know whether he will be killed or saved?

Can you be fully aware of the overwhelming feelings of a wife who doesn’t know whether his wife is alive or dead?

These are the sentiments that those subject to enforced disappearance alongside their family share; integrating and jumbled sentiments between fear of holding on hope and giving up it while surrendering to despair.

Committing the crime of enforced disappearance, perpetrators aim to exploit the horror results from such a crime and the impact it has on the society surrounding the victim, to achieve their goal in controlling the family and threatening the whole community.

Cases of enforced disappearance have expanded to include many local conflicts for the purpose of imposing political pressure on opponents, after they were only limited to the dictatorial and military regimes. Groups of victims widened also to include the victims’ relatives, lawyers, witnesses and human rights defenders as well as the weakest people, such as children and the disabled.

World public opinion was aware of the enormity of the crime of enforced disappearance. In its 209 of 21 December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly expressed concern at the increase in enforced disappearance cases. It welcomed the adoption of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which was publicly published and opened for signature and ratification, upon decree by the United Nations General Assembly No. 61/177 of 20 December 2006.

Furthermore, the United Nations General Assembly decided to declare the 30th of August as the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearance, marking the day of 30 August 2008, when the International Coalition against Enforced Disappearances was established. This coalition is an alliance of human rights organizations from around the world, who gathered to promote the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

As for 2011, the world celebrates the World Day Against Enforced Disappearance in order to show solidarity with the victims, gain more supporters, and urge the governments to exert further efforts to protect civilians from this crime.

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