Enforced Disappearances

Stop Enforced Disappearances © Amnesty International

“Even today I think, maybe today, tomorrow, they will return my son to me [...] Every night he appears in my sleep and during the day I cry all the time [...] That is not a life anymore. For me everything came to a halt. I don’t live; I just walk over the earth.”

Bilat Akhmatkhanova, mother of Artur Akhamatkhanov, who was subject to enforced disappearance in Grozny, capital of the Chechen Republic, in 2003. He was 22 years old.


Enforced disappearance takes place when a person is arrested, detained, abducted or otherwise deprived of their liberty by government officials or by organized groups or private individuals whose actions are condoned by the government in some way.

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followed by a refusal to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the persons concerned, placing them outside the protection of the law. Enforced disappearance is a crime under international law, prohibited by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, among other international standards.

Enforced disappearance is a dehumanizing practice which has long-lasting and damaging consequences for both the disappeared person and his or her families and loved ones. It is a particularly cruel human rights abuse because it is of a continuous nature, particularly for families and loved ones of the victim who often wait for years to learn the truth about the victim’s fate.

Every year Amnesty International also joins activists around the world to observe 30 August as the International Day of the Disappeared, to remember those who have disappeared and their relatives.

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Peru ratified the Convention on Enforced Disappearances but fails to recognize the key competence of the Committee (SPANISH)
Peru’s accession to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance is a positive step, but the state must also recognize the competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, Amnesty International said today.

October 2, 2012

Pakistan: Open Letter – Pakistan must resolve the crisis of enforced disappearances On the occasion of 30 August, International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, Amnesty International urges the Pakistan government to demonstrate the political will to resolve Pakistan’s crisis of enforced disappearances once and for all.

August 30, 2012

Indonesia: Open Letter – Resolve the enforced disappearance of 13 political activists in 1997-8
This is a a joint open letter from Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and FORUM-ASIA to the President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, concerning the enforced disappearance of 13 political activists in 1997-8.

August 30, 2012

Kept in the dark – the murky world of enforced disappearances
A person is “disappeared” when they are arrested, detained or abducted, either by state officials or agents acting on their behalf. Held outside the protection of the law, the disappeared person is often tortured and in constant fear for their life, deprived of all their rights and at the mercy of their captors.

August 29, 2012

Balkans: Thousands still missing two decades after conflicts
Some 14,000 people remain unaccounted for in the countries that make up the former Yugoslavia – nearly half of the total number who disappeared in the decade since war broke out in 1991.

August 29, 2012

The Americas: Enforced disappearances in the Americas are a crime of the present
During 2011 – and despite obstacles in investigations and frequent setbacks – there were significant advances in the investigation and prosecution of disappearances and other human rights abuses committed under military regimes across Latin America. In some countries, however, justice is still a distant hope for relatives of the thousands of disappeared.

August 29, 2012


The right to know: Families still left in the dark in the Balkans
The enforced disappearance and abduction of tens of thousands of people constitutes one of the most serious unresolved human rights violations from the armed conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990s and 2001. These violations cannot be consignd to the past. They result in ongoing, daily pain for the relatives still waiting to know the fate and the whereabouts of their loved ones, still searching for truth, justice and reparations.August 30, 2012

Serbia (Kosovo):Still Missing After All These Years
Thirteen years after the 1999 conflict in Kosovo, an estimated 1,797 people are still missing. There is an urgent need to investigate cases of enforced disappearances and abductions in the region.

April 26, 2012

No Impunity for Enforced Disappearances
Checklist for effective implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance

November 2011

Voices of Victims: Testimonies from Victims of Enforced Disappearance
The following is a collection of testimonies from victims of enforced disappearance and their family members around the globe collected by Amnesty International.

November 2011

Enforced Disappearances: Q & A
A question and answer on the crime of enforced disappearance and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance

November, 2011

Russian Federation: What justice

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for Chechnya’s disappeared?
Enforced disappearances by state agents and abductions by armed groups have been among the most shocking of human rights violations during the second Chechen conflict.

May 23, 2007


Syria: Day of the Disappeared 2012

Mauritania: The stories of 14 disappeared in Mauritania

Sri Lanka: Where is Prageeth?


I Refuse to Forget You: Supporting the World’s Disappeared
Today, on the International Day for the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, we are shining a light on some individuals that the Syrian government – as well as other repressive regimes around the globe – want you to forget.

“It’s one of the worst crimes in the world” – Wife of ‘disappeared’ journalist
On Jan. 24, 2010, Prageeth Eknaligoda, a Sri Lankan journalist and cartoonist, disappeared shortly after leaving work. A few days earlier, he had published an article critical of President Rajapaksa.