ILPS Commission 3
30 August 2023
This year, as we mark the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances, our determination is stronger than ever, accompanied by a renewed sense of hope. Our collective aspiration is to put an end to the grim tally of victims, to halt the growth of the list of those who have been forcibly disappeared, both within our nations and across the globe.
Nonetheless, the world continues to grapple with a widespread crisis. The imperialist powers persist in their relentless exploitation of the world’s resources, perpetuating their exploitation of the underprivileged and marginalized populations across nations through subservient regimes and unholy alliances with local ruling elites. While the global pandemic’s aftermath remains a burden for the people, the enduring obstacles of systemic oppression and repression persist as formidable challenges demanding our resolute confrontation and resistance.
It is against this backdrop that the heinous act of enforced disappearance persists. Many, if not all, of the missing individuals hold significant roles in their respective contexts and struggles. It is precisely these voices that state forces and fascists aim to silence. Through force, they are wrenched away from their families, loved ones, and the larger communities they are part of and fight alongside. Enforced disappearances stand as a stark reality.
Justice proves elusive for the victims of enforced disappearances, mainly due to the absence of any government or state willing to openly acknowledge a policy of abduction and disappearance. The orchestrators of these abductions, the state forces, remain nameless and faceless, maintaining a disturbing silence around their actions even as they climb the ranks through patronage and opportunism.
Although international agreements such as the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance strive to achieve universal acceptance and enactment, many states have yet to adopt them. Our appeal for these nations to sign the Convention becomes even more urgent as we simultaneously demand justice and accountability from them for the history of enforced disappearances spanning past regimes to the present day.
We persist in our demand for justice and commit ourselves to bolstering our support for the victims and families affected by enforced disappearances in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Mediterranean. Today, we stand in solidarity, memorializing all those who have vanished. We extend our backing to families striving to locate their missing loved ones and to bring the culprits to justice.
Throughout history, the families of the disappeared have left an indelible mark, making the world aware of the crime of enforced disappearance. Their efforts have coerced regimes into responding to our pleas for justice and holding wrongdoers accountable, regardless of the arduous and protracted path.
Crucially, we have achieved modest victories in this pursuit, imbibing the lesson that justice requires a steadfast battle. Nonetheless, even amid the global pandemic, security forces in numerous nations persist in the abduction and disappearance of individuals to suppress dissent and quell protest.
Surprisingly, more than a decade after its ratification, a considerable number of states have yet to embrace the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. We must persist in engaging with the United Nations, raising the voices of the vanished, and concurrently launching campaigns to heighten awareness and initiate mobilizations within our home countries.
We must actively counter the monstrous and deceitful efforts of the perpetrators and state elements. Our resolve to expose their assaults on rights defenders and victim families must remain resolute. These endeavors are nothing but desperate endeavors to silence us and render our actions inconsequential, while consigning the disappeared to oblivion.
As long as enforced disappearances endure as a state-sanctioned policy, and the prosecution and culpability of perpetrators remain elusive, we are summoned to marshal our courage and stand unwavering. Ultimately, the battle against enforced disappearances will be victorious on the streets and platforms of protest.
Drawing strength from the disappeared and the pioneers of the fight against enforced disappearances, let neither a pandemic nor atrocities diminish our protest voices: Bring the vanished to light! Demand justice for the victims! Stop enforced disappearances! ###