International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance

The Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance aims to criminalise and combat the grave human rights violation of enforced disappearance. It was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 20 December 2006. Switzerland ratified the Convention on 2 December 2016.

States parties to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED) are obliged to prevent, prohibit and criminalise enforced disappearance. The Convention considers "enforced disappearance" as any form of deprivation of liberty, which is carried out by agents or with the authorization of a state, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty and the whereabouts of the person concerned.

Under the Convention, states parties must inter alia:

  • criminalise enforced disappearances under all circumstances and without exception,

  • ensure that the conditions, competences and procedures for lawful detention are foreseen by law,

  • ensure that there is a register or official records that include a minimum amount of information on detained persons,

  • guarantee that relatives of the victim and other persons directly affected obtain basic information concerning the whereabouts of the detained person,

  • provide reparations and information concerning the fate of the victim.

The Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 20 December 2006 and came into force on 23 December 2010. Switzerland ratified the Convention on 2 December 2016, where it came into force on 1 January 2017.

Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance

States parties to the CED

Review mechanism

The Committee on Enforced Disappearances is an independent body made up of 10 members elected by the states parties of the Convention. It is tasked to monitor the implementation of the obligations under the CED. The Committee further has the authority to listen to the relatives of disappeared persons, obtain relevant information from the states parties in question and request a field visit. The Committee is also empowered to recommend urgent measures and can deal with individual communications (individual complaints procedure) and interstate complaints (interstate complaints procedure) if this capacity has been explicitly recognised by the state party concerned. Switzerland has recognised the Committee's authority to deal with individual (article 31) and interstate (article 32) complaints.

As part of the state reporting procedure, two years after ratification each state party submits a one-time report on the currents status of its implementation of the Convention. Switzerland submitted this report in December 2018. The Committee also has the competence to request details about this implementation from the state party in question in addition to the report.

UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances