Sunday, January 16, 2011

Now (en)force

The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, (prior posts) has entered into force. (hat tip)
Some months after the U.N. General Assembly adopted the multilateral treaty on December 20, 2006, IntLawGrrl Jaya Ramji-Nogales predicted that this effort to address the phenomenon of forced disappearances "may represent the future of international human rights law – enforcement through specificity." Jaya wrote:
The enforced disappearance treaty makes the interesting move of labelling and targeting a certain pattern of human rights violations, thus creating very specific norms that might be used by advocates to overcome the enforcement problems faced by more general human rights treaties. In addition, the Convention’s enforcement committee has the ability to hear urgent claims, to undertake field investigations, and to bring widespread and systematic enforced disappearance to the attention of the General Assembly.
The treaty will be monitored, as Jaya's post indicated, by the U.N. Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. Among the 5 independent experts who comprise this Working Group is 1 woman, Jasminka Džumhur (left), a gender and human rights specialist from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Chairing the group is Jeremy J. Sarkin, a South African legal expert. Other members are:
Olivier de Frouville, a law professor at l'Université de Montpellier 1 in France; Osman El Hajjé, a law professor and president of the Jinan University Human Rights Centre in Lebanon; and Ariel Dulitzky of Argentina, a clinical law professor at the University of Texas.
Despite her optimism back in 2007, Jaya worried that desired "near-universal ratification" might be hard to come by.
Entry into force, at least, was relatively rapid.
The convention entered into force almost exactly 4 years after being adopted -- on December 23d of last year, 30 days after Iraq became its 20th state party. Today, less than a month later, it now has 21 states parties, Brazil having ratified soon after Iraq. Beside those 2 countries, the other states parties are Albania, Argentina, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Germany, Honduras, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mali, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Senegal, Spain, and Uruguay.
As pointed out in a U.N. press release respecting the status of the treaty, about 70 other states "have taken the preliminary step of signing it, an expression of their intention to ratify it at some point in the future."
And yet many countries remain fully outside the treaty regime. Among those that have neither signed nor ratified are 4 of the P-5 members: China, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

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