30 August is International Day of the Disappeared


On this day, 30 August, the world remembers all victims of enforced disappearances.

The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances was established in 1980 by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.  At the present time a draft for an international convention for the protection of all people from enforced disappearances has been approved at a session of the UN Council on Human Rights which took place in Geneva on 30 June, and submitted for review to the UN General Assembly. The session is scheduled for 12 September 2006.

In Belarus between 1999 and 2000 the following people disappeared without trace: Yuri Zakharenko, former Minister of Internal Affairs (disappeared on 7 May 1999), Victor Gonchar, former Vice-President of the Parliament of Belarus  and Anatoly Krasovski, businessman (both disappeared on 16 September 1999), and Dmitri Zavadski, cameraman for the Russian television channel ORT (disappeared on 7 July 2000).  The Committee on Legal Issues and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has named the people in high positions in Belarus believed to be implicated in these disappearances.

The Convention for the protection of all people from enforced disappearances has as category of separate offences enforced disappearances which may be arrest, detention, abduction or deprivation of liberty in any other form with a subsequent refusal to acknowledge the fact of the deprivation of liberty or with concealment of the details about the fate or the place where the person who has disappeared is being held.

The majority of occasions where people disappear are connected with internal conflict in the country generating violence, humanitarian crises and flagrant violations of human rights. Experts from the Working Group have called on all nations of the world to take measures to fight against such disappearances, and particularly the practice of secret detention.

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