Forced Disappearance

In international human rights law, a forced disappearance (or enforced disappearance) occurs when a person is secretly abducted or imprisoned by a state or political organization or by a third party with the authorization, support, or acquiescence of a state or political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the person's fate and whereabouts, with the intent of placing the victim outside the protection of the law.

According to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which came into force on 1 July 2002, when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed at any civilian population, a "forced disappearance" qualifies as a crime against humanity and, thus, is not subject to a statute of limitations. On 20 December 2006, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Often forced disappearance implies murder. The victim in such a case is abducted, illegally detained and often tortured during interrogation; killed, and the body hidden. Typically, a murder will be surreptitious, with the corpse disposed of to escape discovery, so that the person apparently vanishes. The party committing the murder has deniability, as nobody provides evidence of the victim's death.

Disappearing political rivals is also a way for regimes to engender feelings of complicity in populations. That is: the difficulty of publicly fighting a government which murders in secret can result in widespread pretense that everything is normal, as it did in Argentina.

Read more about Forced Disappearance:  Human Rights Law, Examples

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Famous quotes containing the word forced:

    With all of my power of living
    I am forced to lie on the floor.
    John Ashbery (b. 1927)