The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance was made open for signature on 6 February 2007, at a ceremony hosted in Paris by the United Nations and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On behalf of Japan, Mr. Masayoshi Hamada, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, attended the ceremony to sign the Convention. Fifty-seven states, primarily from Europe, Africa and Latin America, signed the Convention on the same day. The number of the signatories from the Asian region remained small: only Japan, India and Lebanon signed it.
The Convention, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2006, defines "enforced disappearance" as the deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or other actors, followed by concealment of the whereabouts of and other facts about the disappeared person, which places such a person outside the protection of the law. It also provides a legal framework for criminalizing and punishing enforced disappearance.
The international monitoring body for the Convention is authorized to receive requests for urgent action in individual cases and to undertake field visits with the consent of the State Party concerned. When there are indications that enforced disappearance is being practiced on a widespread or systematic basis within the jurisdiction of a State Party, it may urgently bring the matter to the attention of the United Nations General Assembly.
The government of Japan expressed its view that the signature by Japan is meaningful in increasing international concern over the issue of enforced disappearance, including abduction.
The Convention will enter into force after twenty states have ratified it.
· Outline of the signing ceremony for the Enforced Disappearance Convention (press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) [Japanese]
· Signing of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) [Japanese] [English]