On August 30, the United States marks the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, as established by the UN General Assembly in 2010. The United States stands in solidarity with victims of the egregious crime of enforced disappearance and with the loved ones who live with the agony of their absence and the added pain of not knowing their whereabouts or fate. Every year, friends and family members vanish after being arrested, detained, or abducted by government officials or those working in concert with them or with their tacit assent. Those responsible refuse to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or conceal the victims’ fates and whereabouts. Human rights defenders, political activists, environmental defenders, journalists, and those who exercise their fundamental freedoms are often the targets of this egregious crime.
The United States strongly condemns all enforced disappearances and calls on governments to facilitate the return of and provide information about all victims of enforced disappearances, and to undertake independent and transparent investigations into all such cases. Governments must put an end to enforced disappearances, hold accountable those responsible, reveal the fate or whereabouts of loved ones who have been disappeared, and respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons.