A new international treaty outlawing enforced disappearances and upholding the right of victims to know the truth about the circumstances and fate of those disappeared was officially opened for signature at a ceremony in Paris on Tuesday and Rights Groups will be hoping Sri Lanka becomes one of the signatories.
`Far from being a tragic relic of past `dirty wars`, this shameful practice still persists in all continents. This treaty closes a glaring gap in international human rights law by making explicit the prohibition on disappearances,` said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour.
`The task now is to ensure that the new Convention is promptly applied to meet the hopes and the demands for justice of the victims and their families and satisfy their `right to know`.
The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 20, 2006.
Echoing the absolute prohibition on torture, the Convention states that, `No one shall be subjected to enforced disappearance` and highlights that no exceptional circumstances whatsoever may be invoked as a justification for such violation.
It calls on all State Parties to ensure that enforced disappearances constitute an offence under domestic law and significantly, states that the widespread or systematic practice of enforced disappearances constitutes a crime against humanity.