Our new Working Paper Non-State Actors and Enforced Disappearances: Defining a Path Forward written by our Teaching Assistant Ana Srovin Coralli discusses the growing phenomenon of disappearances committed by non-state actors and the need to rethink the current definition of enforced disappearance to address this reality, improve the situation of victims and ensure proper accountability of non-state actors.
Disappearances committed by non-state actors have intensified throughout the years in all parts of the world. They can take place in the contexts of human trafficking, migration, and armed conflicts and are notably perpetrated by organized crime groups, street gangs or armed groups.
‘While this phenomenon is on the rise, the current international legal framework and definition of enforced disappearance in international human rights law (IHRL) does not allow to properly addressing it’ explains Ana Srovin Coralli.
As a result, the author underlines that victims of disappearances perpetrated by non-state actors do not benefit from the same guarantees and protection as victims of enforced disappearances perpetrated, authorized, supported or acquiesced by the state.
For instance, under the current legal framework, many victims feel rejected, in particular because they cannot lodge a complaint against a non-state actor or submit a case to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances or the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances given that disappearance of their loved one is considered outside the ambit of the definition.
‘Whenever a disappearance does not qualify as an enforced disappearance – which is the case when perpetrated by non-state actors – the protection and guarantees for the disappeared and their relatives are significantly weaker’ underlines Ana Srovin Coralli.
In her paper, the author suggests that expanding the definition of enforced disappearance would allow improving the situation of victims in two ways.
First, state obligations regarding disappearances committed by non-state actors would be equal to their obligations for enforced disappearances. Second, such expansion would also facilitate holding non-state actors accountable for disappearances.
‘It is time to ask ourselves whether the current definition of enforced disappearance is conceptualized in a way that corresponds to reality and addresses the rights of all victims’ says Ana Srovin Coralli.
‘By placing implications for victims at the centre of consideration, the expansion of the definition would contribute to achieving one of the key aims of IHRL, which is to protect human dignity’ she adds.
Ten years after the entry into force of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, The Work of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances takes stock of what the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances has achieved and details its jurisprudence as it stands today.
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Our new Working Paper discusses how current initiatives on the regulation of artificial intelligence technologies should incorporate the protection and respect for human rights.
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The two-day Scientific Colloquium of the 2021 Human Rights Week will explore the different facets of discrimination and inequalities and will discuss their human rights impact in our contemporary world.
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This IHL Talk, co-organized with the International Peace Institute (IPI), aims at contrasting approaches to, and decision-making on, humanitarian affairs in the relevant multilateral fora in New York and Geneva.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, analyses the main international and regional norms governing the international protection of refugees. It notably examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law.
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This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, aims at presenting the institutions and procedures in charge of the implementation of international human rights law.
Resulting from traditional legal research and informal interviews with experts, the project aims at examining how – if at all possible – IHL could be more systematically, appropriately and correctly dealt with by the human rights mechanisms emanating from the Charter of the United Nations, as well from universal and regional treaties.
The Geneva Human Rights Platform contributes to this review process by providing expert input via different avenues, by facilitating dialogue on the review among various stakeholders, as well as by accompanying the development of a follow-up resolution to 68/268 in New York and in Geneva.