UN calls for action on Day of the Disappeared

The UN has marked the International Day of the Disappeared by appealing to all governments to end the security force clampdowns and armed banditry which has led to the disappearance of thousands.

The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances expressed particular concern over the situation in Nepal, where the number of alleged disappearances has risen to 130 for the first half of 2004 as compared to 18 for all 2003. Russia, with more than 270 cases, and Colombia, where more than 890 cases remain to be clarified, were also highlighted as areas of concern.

In UN-administered Kosovo, where some 3,000 people are missing in the wake of ethnic fighting between Serbs and Albanians, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative Søren Jessen-Petersen called for the enhanced cooperation of every organisation.

"Far more should be done to shed light on the fate of missing persons. All those involved in issues relating to missing persons must speak with one voice to exert pressure at every level so that the process of identification is accelerated. It is clear that not enough is being done to ease the suffering of the affected families,” he said.

The Geneva-based Working Group noted that while in the past disappearances were mainly associated with the State policies of authoritarian regimes, they now occur in the context of much more complex situations of internal conflict generating violence, humanitarian crises, and human rights violations.


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