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Press Release
Adopts Concluding Observations on Reports of Japan and Portugal, and Follow-Up Observations on Mexico

The Committee on Enforced Disappearances this afternoon concluded its fifteenth session after adopting its concluding observations and recommendations on the reports of Japan and Portugal, and follow-up observations on the additional information submitted by Mexico.

The concluding observations and recommendations on the States reviewed during the session will be available on the session’s webpage next week.

Koji Teraya, Committee Rapporteur, presented the Committee’s report on the session which was held from 5 to 16 November 2018, noting that it had adopted concluding observations on reports of Japan and Portugal and follow-up observations on the additional information submitted by Mexico; the list of issues on Chile, Italy and Peru; the follow-up report to concluding observations in relation to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador and Senegal; and the follow-up report on urgent actions.

The Committee had further decided to send its statement on draft articles on crimes against humanity to the International Law Commission before the 1 December 2018 deadline, and it had identified the first three countries with outstanding overdue reports which would be examined in the absence of a report. Also during the session, the Committee had adopted draft guiding principles on the obligation to search for and locate disappeared persons and had decided to launch a consultation process with all relevant stakeholders with a view to their adoption at the sixteenth session.

In her concluding remarks, Suela Janina, Committee Chairperson, recalled the powerful messages heard at the session from mothers of the disappeared during dictatorships in Argentina and Chile, and from mothers of recently disappeared from Mexico, and stressed that the achievements in the fight against enforced disappearance must not be taken for granted. The Chair recalled that the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance offered an array of tools for addressing enforced disappearance and said that the Committee had continued to develop its working methods regarding those tools, including though a follow-up dialogue, a procedure held for the first time with the delegation of Mexico.

The Committee had considered its follow-up procedure on urgent actions, the Chair said, noting that the Committee had received over 600 requests for urgent actions and had issued more than 500 urgent actions to different States parties. Turning to the draft guiding principles on the duty to search for and to locate disappeared persons and the decision to consult with all relevant stakeholders, Ms. Janina said that the call for submissions would be opened until 25 January 2019. The Committee had engaged with the Chair of the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances to explore further ways to increase cooperation and had discussed issues of common interest with the Committee against Torture, said the Chair, finally expressing the Committee’s commitment to never stop to actively support the families of victims and to always be at the forefront of the fight against enforced disappearance.

Meeting summaries of all public meetings held during the fifteenth session of the Committee on Enforced Disappearance can be found here, and archived meeting webcasts here.

The Committee will hold its sixteenth session at the Palais Wilson in Geneva from 8 to 18 April 2019.

For use of the information media; not an official record