On Tuesday, the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances presented as an addendum follow-up to the Human Rights Council’s forty-eighth regular session about The Gambia. The addendum encompasses recommendations made by the Working Group following its visit to Banjul from 12 to 19 June 2017.
Henrikas Mickevicius, Vice-Chair of the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances, said The Gambia had taken positive steps to move forward with the truth-seeking process. Nonetheless, crucial actions to guarantee access to justice and remedy and full reparation for victims are yet to materialize.
The Vice-Chair insisted that it should never be forgotten that, behind these numerous cases, were human beings who became victims of one of the most heinous human rights violations.
Henrikas Mickevicius also said that in some instances, enforced disappearances could be considered crimes against humanity.
He recommended that States cease to justify disappearances and ensure that they comply with human rights. Unfortunately, he recalled that enforced or involuntary disappearances continue to be a phenomenon in all world regions. He, however, added that today, there is more awareness about the atrocious crime of enforced or involuntary disappearance and better advocacy to confront it.
The Vice-Chair of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances concluded that so far, it was not enough to effectively address this offense to human dignity and that States’ cooperation with the Working Group was vital to prevent, combat and eradicate enforced disappearances.
Some speakers said that the Working Group’s conclusions had proven to be unsubstantiated and urged the Working Group to verify the credibility of the sources, as required by the Code of Conduct of the Special Procedures.
Speakers in the discussion were from The Gambia, Lithuania on behalf of a group of countries, Egypt on behalf of a group of countries, Argentina on behalf of a group of countries, European Union, Greece, Liechtenstein, Japan, Armenia, Iraq, France, Egypt, Albania, Venezuela, Kenya, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, United States, Russian Federation, Morocco, Peru, Nepal, Namibia, Belgium, China, Cyprus, Croatia, Portugal, Libya, Pakistan, Sudan, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Serbia, Yemen, United Kingdom, Azerbaijan, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Tanzania, Lesotho, Colombia, Belarus, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Organization of American States, Indonesia and Argentina.