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International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances 2023 – August 30

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International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances - August 30 2023The United Nations (UN)’s International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances is annually observed on 30th August across the world, to commemorate and pay respect to those who have undergone enforced disappearances.

  • This day also aims to provide effective access to justice for victims of enforced disappearance.


i.On 21st December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/65/209 and proclaimed the 30th of August of every year as the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

ii.By the same resolution, the UNGA also adopted the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPED).

iii.The first-ever International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances was observed on the 30th of August 2001.

Enforced Disappearances:

i.It involves actions by state agents or authorized individuals that result in the arrest, detention, abduction, or any form of liberty deprivation. This heinous act violates human rights and international law.

ii.The definition is as defined in the ICPED and the Preamble of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Note: Around the world, hundreds of thousands of people have vanished during conflicts or periods of repression in at least 85 countries.

Human Rights that are Regularly Violated by Enforced Disappearances:

  • The right to recognition as a person before the law;
  • The right to liberty and security of the person;
  • The right not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment;
  • The right to an identity;
  • The right to an effective remedy, including reparation and compensation;
  • The right to know the truth regarding the circumstances of a disappearance.

Cumulative elements:

Enforced Disappearances are characterised by 3 cumulative elements (defined in A/HRC/16/48/ADD.3):

i.Deprivation of liberty against the will of the person;

ii.Involvement of government officials, at least by acquiescence;

iii.Refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person.

International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP):

i.It is a treaty-based intergovernmental organisation that seeks to ensure the cooperation of governments on missing person cases from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, and other causes, and to assist them in doing so.

ii.It is the only international organization exclusively mandated to address the issue of missing persons and also supports the work of other organisations in their efforts.

iii.It also encourages public involvement in its activities and contributes to the development of appropriate expressions of commemoration and tribute to the missing.

2023 Events:

i.On 30th August 2023, ICMP’s Western Balkans program organised a global campaign to light 12,000 virtual candles representing the remaining missing persons in the Western Balkans.

  • Western Balkans is a term used in the European Union (EU) to refer to 6 countries in Southern and Eastern Europe that are covered by EU enlargement policy.
  • The 6 countries are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Serbia.

ii.In an effort to address the issue of missing migrants, the ICMP is collaborating with the International Organization on Migration (IOM) and other relevant agencies.

  • This initiative aims to comprehensively assess the scope of missing migrants and implement effective measures to locate and identify them.

About International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP):
Director-General– Kathryne Bomberger
Headquarters– The Hague, The Netherlands
Established in– 1996