As the world marks International Day of the Disappeared today, Reporters Without Borders notes that many countries are still violating international law on this matter, including the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which the UN General Assembly adopted in 2006.
Reporters Without Borders calls for the universal ratification of this convention, which has so far been signed by 91 countries and ratified by 29. Combating enforced disappearance is vital in the struggle against dictatorships and arbitrary rule.
Enforced disappearance includes both secret imprisonment and secret house arrest, in which the families of the victims are denied any information about their fate or where they are being held. It is a form of abduction and sometimes ends in murder.
It is a radical method of oppression in which human rights defenders, opposition activists, free speech activists and independent journalists are removed from society because they are often on the front line of the struggle against authoritarian regimes. As well censoring calls for freedom and justice, dictatorships target those who make the calls.