The 54th Session of the Human Rights Council
11th September-14th October 2023
Item 3: Interactive dialogue with the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances
19th September 2023
Joint Statement of Association with GICJ, Ma’onah for Human Rights, MEEZAAN, and International Lawyers
Delivered by Naji Haraj
Madame Vice President,
While we thank the Working Group on Enforced Disappearances for its report, we share its dismay at the positions of several countries that evade their responsibilities of revealing the fate of forcibly disappeared persons. A strong message must be sent to all these countries. As the Working Group emphasized, no reason may be used to justify crimes of enforced disappearance and failure to search for the disappeared.
The report referred to Iraq. Iraq has the largest number of enforced disappearances ever, as estimates confirm the presence of up to one million forcibly disappeared peoples since 2003, and despite international recommendations, the Iraqi authorities are evading the implementation of their required obligations.
Therefore, the Working Group must confirm the Iraqi authorities' demand for:
- Revealing the fate of the forcibly disappeared,
- Caring for families and compensating them for the loss of their sources of income,
- Amending criminal laws and enacting the Enforced Disappearance Law,
- Stop threatening civil society organizations and lawyers who are trying to help families in the search for their loved ones,
- Holding the perpetrators of these crimes accountable,
It is also important to provide all support to the Working Group, as well as to the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances, and their work aimed at ending impunity for the perpetrators of these serious crimes.