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Stand up for the disappeared

United Nations International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, 30 August 2017

They may come at any time – often in unmarked vans, wearing plain clothes, but sometimes openly, in uniform. The people they seize may never be seen again, and their arrest and detention may never be acknowledged. Held in secret, the “disappeared” are deprived of the protection of the law; often tortured.

Enforced disappearance is not a crime of the past. It is practiced by governments in every region, and in many countries is increasing. That's why the UN Human Rights Office has launched an initiative to double the number of ratifications of the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance within five years.

© OHCHR

As of August 2017, 57 countries have ratified the Convention. Help us reach the goal of 112 ratifications by 2022!

Videos: Get inspired

Relatives of the disappeared speak up about their experiences in the hope that no one else will have to go through what they did.

Video Message of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Take Action

Stand up for the disappeared and their families. Not sure what to do? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

If you are a citizen/NGO...

  • Send letters to your government representatives and politicians to explain why they must ratify the Convention. Here is a template letter that you can use: English | Spanish | French

If you are a journalist...

  • Publish stories explaining to the general public what is enforced disappearance and why ratifying the Convention is important.

If you are a teacher...

  • Include enforced disappearance into the curriculum of social, legal and historical studies of your students.

If you are a student...

  • Consider including enforced disappearance in your school projects.

If you are a relative of a disappeared...

  • Speak up about your experience so that no one else will go through what you did.

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