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Weekly Session 4 - Forced Disappearance

Secretary Wed, 10/24/2018 - 08:35


With Halloween¬†ūüéɬ†drawing ever closer, when better to discuss mysterious and covert disappearances coordinated by nation states?

Small reminder that committee applications are still open until Friday 11pm:

Study Guide

Forced disappearance has been long declared illegal and was first established as an international crime committed by a state actor in the Vienna Declaration and is an integral part of the Rome Statute which established the International Criminal Court in 1988 who codify enforced disappearance as a crime against humanity, and if offences occur during war time will constitute war crimes.

Obviously, the global community recognise forced disappearance is an ongoing and severe problem, which if allowed to continue to get out of hand could lead to even greater violation of International Human Rights and national sovereignty. The UN passed a legally binding convention in 2006. ‚ÄúInternational Convention For The Protection of All Persons From Enforced Disappearance‚ÄĚ which sought to act as a further instrument against the disappearance of persons. It is currently ratified by only 59 states, with 98 signatories notably excluding all UNSC P5 members except France, Pakistan and many African states. There is a current International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearance
made up of NGOs and families of disappeared individuals to encourage more states to ratify this convention. However, there are many states who believe that even with its legally binding provisions the Convention is not sufficient to prevent these clandestine activities across the globe as has been shown with recent events.

Jamal Khashoggi has brought the practice of forced disappearance back into the international view following his alleged assassination and botched coverup by the Saudi Arabian government on 2/10/18 where he entered the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul but did not exit, with reports that he had been murdered and dismembered whilst inside the building. The Saudi Arabian government initially contested this saying that he had left the consulate, citing eyewitnesses observing a man wearing his clothes and with his general appearance, now shown on CCTV to be a body double. The Saudis then changed their story to saying he had been killed in self-defence as a fight broke out within the consulate, later changing their story again admitting that he had been murdered by a ‚Äúrogue operation‚ÄĚ and they were determined to find out who was responsible but definitively denying involvement of their Crown Prince. The Turkish government refute this claiming that they had intelligence that there was a 15-man hit squad, dispatched from Riyadh, awaiting Khashoggi within the consulate to interrogate, murder and dismember him. The actual events within the consulate remain an enigma.

This has many parallels in the enforced disappearance of other individuals across many other nation states with other notable disappearances being that of the INTERPOL chief Hongwei who was detained for a 2 week period on his visit to Beijing on corruption charges before INTERPOL then informed Taiwan they would not be permitted attendance of the INTERPOL general assembly later that month suggesting a political motivation beyond Xi-Jinping’s anti-corruption drive for this detention. Similar events have occurred in Algeria (Algerian Civil War 1992), Argentina (detention of desaparecidos (disappeared) in torture camps in the Dirty War culminating in Death Flights over the Atlantic), Bangladesh, Guatemala (where this practice of state-driven terrorism to drive national obedience was pioneered), Russia (abduction of an Estonian intelligence chief in 2014) and many

With such brazen abductions continuing alongside countless more covert disappearances reported by NGOs is the current resolution enough?

Further Reading:…/sta…/un-treaties/disappearance/