Sri Lanka


Year total






6 a







































2019 b






















a Urgent action No. 9/2013 refers to two persons. It is therefore counted as two urgent actions.

b As at 18 April 2019.

B.The process after registration of urgent action requests: developments observed since the fourteenth session (up to 18 April 2019)

1.Interaction with States parties

34.The Committee maintains contact with States parties through their respective permanent missions. In order to maximize the impact of the Committee’s recommendations regarding requests for urgent action, the Committee considers that it would be necessary to establish more direct contact with the authorities responsible for searching for disappeared persons and investigating their disappearance, so that the Committee’s concerns and recommendations may be communicated to them more directly if necessary.

35.The majority of registered urgent actions are still related to events that have occurred in Mexico and Iraq.

36.Mexico has responded to the vast majority of the 356 urgent actions registered. During the period covered by the present report, the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva held a meeting with the Committee secretariat, in which it expressed its concern at the registration of cases in which the alleged acts had not been committed by persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, within the meaning of article 2 of the Convention, but rather by criminal groups. From the State party’s responses to the Committee’s requests and recommendations, the following trends may be observed:

(a)In all the urgent action cases, the State party’s observations and the authors’ comments continue to reflect sporadic, isolated actions that do not seem to be part of, or be directed by, a previously defined search and investigation strategy or to reflect the development of an exhaustive search;

(b)Investigative actions by the authorities are frequently not taken unless relatives, close contacts or representatives of the disappeared persons take the initiative. If relatives, close contacts or representatives are unable to identify leads for the investigators or are unable to persuade the authorities to take action, the cases generally remain deadlocked;

(c)The searches are almost invariably begun by sending official requests for information to hospitals and detention centres. Most of these letters remain unanswered. The Committee has expressed concern that, in such cases, the Public Prosecutor’s Office does not appear to make full use of its authority to employ enforcement measures in order to obtain the requisite information. The Committee has also been informed of cases in which enforcement measures, such as orders of detention, were requested, but no action was taken by the authorities in charge;

(d)In the vast majority of cases, on-site investigations are very rarely carried out. The authors of the urgent action requests frequently inform the Committee that the investigating authorities tell them that they are afraid to go to the locations in which they might be able to collect evidence;

(e)The authors often allege that the authorities in charge of the search and investigation are directly or indirectly involved in the events and that the processes therefore remain deadlocked;

(f)There has been a failure to execute orders to conduct investigations issued by the Public Prosecutor’s Office. The authorities often fail to take action and it is alleged that they sometimes obstruct searches and investigations. In such cases, the Committee has requested the State party to implement clear and formal mechanisms that would require the teams responsible for searching for missing persons and investigating their enforced disappearance to issue regular and transparent reports on the progress made and difficulties encountered. The State party has also been requested to take all necessary measures to investigate and punish any actions by the State party’s authorities that may have hindered the effectiveness of the search and investigation processes under way;

(g)There is still fragmentation among the investigations by State institutions, and between State and federal institutions. There is also a lack of inter-agency coordination and pursuit of a joint strategy. Given these circumstances, great difficulties have reportedly been encountered in incorporating all the evidence into a single investigation. Fragmentation and lack of coordination tend to cause excessive delays in the investigative procedure;

(h)There have been reports of threats and intimidation against family members of disappeared persons for seeking to advance investigations, in particular in cases in which the military forces are reportedly involved.

37.At the time of writing, the Committee has registered 162 urgent actions related to events in Iraq. No reply has been received in relation to 18 of the urgent action requests, even though four reminders have been sent. When replies have been sent by the State party, the Committee is concerned by their content because of the following issues: (a) the State party does not provide any information on the activities undertaken to search for the disappeared persons or to investigate their disappearance; (b) the State party has at times provided information that does not relate to the events described in the urgent actions in question; and (c) in one urgent action, the State party asserted that the disappeared person had been located, whereas the family members and representatives reported that the person was still missing. In the latter case, the Committee requested the State party to verify the information provided and present evidence to show that the located person was indeed the disappeared person under whose name the urgent action had been registered.

38.The State party stated in some cases that the disappeared persons were terrorists and that these cases could not be considered as enforced disappearance. The Committee has stressed the importance of considering a person to be disappeared for as long as he or she remains in incommunicado detention and there is no information as to his or her whereabouts.

39.As regards requests for urgent action addressed to other States parties, the Committee highlights the following:

(a)Armenia: in the case of Ara Khachatryan (urgent action No. 376/2017), the State party sent a response stating that a preliminary investigation had been under way since 2011. This response was shared with the authors of the request for their comments. In the light of the information received, the Committee sent a follow-up note highlighting the State party’s obligations to take concrete actions to search for the disappeared person and ensure that family members, relatives and representatives were duly informed and able to participate in the search and investigation processes. The information submitted by the State party did not show that any strategy or investigation plan had been developed; the main investigator in charge had been replaced seven times, preventing the continuity of the investigation; and family members had not been informed of any measures taken by authorities in charge of the search and investigation;

(b)Brazil: in the case of Davi Santos Fiuza (urgent action No. 61/2014), the State party informed the Committee that the results of four years of search and investigations into the disappearance of Mr. Santos Fiuza had been sent to the Bahia State Counsel-General’s Office. These results pointed to the possible involvement of 17 members of the Bahia state police (military police). The Public Prosecutor is currently reviewing the information in order to determine the individual responsibility of these members and press charges. This response was transmitted to the author, who has not submitted comments, despite a reminder sent on 13 February 2019;

(c)Cambodia: the urgent action registered on behalf of the minor Khem Sophath (urgent action No. 11/2014) is ongoing. In April 2019, the Committee sent a new follow-up note requesting additional information and reminding the State party of its obligation to carry out search and investigation activities based on all existing scenarios in the case, including those pointing to the possible involvement of State agents in the events in question. The Committee has expressed its concern at the lack of collaboration of the State party and the need to take specific measures to search for the disappeared person. The Committee has closed the urgent action registered on behalf of Mouen Sum (urgent action No. 568/2019). The State party promptly responded to this urgent action request, informing the Committee that the person had been located on 31 March 2019 and reunited with his family. This information was confirmed by the family members;

(d)Colombia: the information provided by the State party in the registered requests for urgent action indicates that investigations and searches often come to a standstill a few months after they begin. In a number of cases, the authors report that the Committee’s notes have been followed by concrete actions, although such actions are usually isolated and do not form part of a clear-cut search and investigation strategy;

(e)Cuba: a new urgent action request was registered on behalf of César Iván Mendoza Regal (urgent action No. 542/2018), a human rights defender allegedly detained by the State Security Department. At the time of writing, his whereabouts and the charges against him remain unknown. The State party informed the Committee that he had been in pretrial detention for illicit association and that he had been released pending trial. However, the authors have requested that the State party present evidence of his physical integrity and personal security by presenting him to the media;

(f)Honduras: the State party responded to the requests regarding the 14 urgent actions registered. Concerning the 13 urgent actions related to disappeared migrant persons, the State party’s observations are very general and do not provide concrete information on the individual cases. They also reveal that the authorities in charge of the search have not sought international judicial assistance, provided for under article 14 of the Convention, with a view to establishing a migration route and clarifying the events. The Committee is awaiting the authors’ comments;

(g)Lithuania: a new urgent action request was registered on behalf of Deimantė Stankūnaitė (urgent action No. 569/2019), a victim of sexual exploitation who disappeared at 8 years of age. The State party responded that she had been located and that she was under the protection of the law. However, the author of the urgent action requested that the State party confirm the exact location of the victim and allow him to contact her;

(h)Togo: with regard to the cases of Atsou Adzi and Messan Koku Adzi (urgent actions Nos. 543/2018 and 544/2018), the State party responded by questioning whether the persons had been detained by the police when they were disappeared, and noting that they were not included in the national registry. However, the authors have responded that the State party has not demonstrated that it has undertaken a thorough investigation into the police car in which, according to eye witnesses, the persons were disappeared. The Committee sent a follow-up note expressing concern about the lack of progress in the search and investigation into the disappearances.

40.In all registered requests for urgent action, the Committee continues to emphasize that it is essential for States parties to carry out search actions as soon as possible after the disappearance of the person concerned; to develop strategies for searching for disappeared persons and investigating their disappearance; and to take into account that such investigations are necessary, inter alia, to ensure that the perpetrators are identified, which can be the key to locating disappeared persons.

2.Interaction with authors

41.The secretariat is in frequent contact with the authors of requests for urgent action, mainly by means of letters sent on behalf of the Committee, but also more directly by email and telephone. On the basis of the Committee’s contact with authors, a few trends may be observed.

42.Authors continue to highlight the importance of the support provided by the Committee, which has proved to be a receptive contact point after several unsuccessful attempts at contacting the national authorities. With the exception of the cases related to events in Iraq, authors of urgent action requests also point out that, when the Committee has sent notes, they have received replies to particular requests, mainly concerning the implementation of specific investigative actions recommended by the Committee.

43.In most of these cases, however, the authors regularly report that such actions are not followed up. Very soon after requests for urgent action have been registered, the authors frequently express frustration at the States’ failure to fulfil their search and investigation duties. They note with concern the failure of the authorities to undertake basic investigative steps to search for and locate missing persons, even when reliable information is available that could be used to advance the search and investigation.

44.The authors of requests for urgent action reiterate that, in older cases, the national authorities are taking less and less action to search for and locate disappeared persons and that they limit themselves to undertaking formal actions or repeating previous investigations. In other cases, the authors have drawn attention to the national authorities’ failure, for instance, to ensure that all witnesses are duly interviewed as soon as possible to facilitate the search for disappeared persons and the investigation into their disappearance, or their failure to conduct relevant analysis of the available evidence (see, for example, those cases in which available telephone or video records have not been analysed until several months after their submission to the competent authorities).

45.One of the main trends observed is the difficulties faced by families and relatives of missing persons to participate in the search for the disappeared person and the investigation of their disappearance. These difficulties are mainly caused by the lack of information concerning the ongoing processes. The authors of requests state that, if they do not request information, the authorities do not provide them with any information as to the actions taken, even when activities are being planned in which their participation might be relevant.

46.It has also been noted that, when the authorities have contacted family members and relatives in accordance with their obligations under the Convention, they have done so in a manner that re-victimizes them. In such cases, the Committee has reminded the State party of the content of article 24 (2) of the Convention. It has also emphasized that States parties are responsible for establishing mechanisms for reporting information to the families and relatives of missing persons with the aim of ensuring that they and their representatives can participate actively, and in an informed manner, at all stages of the investigative process, and that they are required to provide family members and relatives with adequate guidance on their rights and how to exercise them.

47.In the case of Mexico, the authors frequently report that support for the families and relatives of disappeared persons is very limited and not adapted to their needs. In cases in which such difficulties have been identified, the Committee has reminded the State party that protection and support measures must be established and implemented in consultation with beneficiaries in order to ensure that they meet their needs.

48.The Committee remains concerned by allegations that authors of requests for urgent action have been subjected to threats, pressure and reprisals, particularly in connection with events occurring in Mexico and Colombia. In these urgent action cases, the Committee requests the State party to adopt interim measures to protect the persons who are in danger. The Committee also emphasizes the importance of ensuring that these interim protective measures are implemented by authorities against which there are no allegations of possible involvement in the disappearance in question, and in coordination with the beneficiaries and their representatives to ensure that the measures fully meet their needs. To this end, the Committee requests the State party to convene regular coordination meetings between the authorities responsible for implementing the interim measures, and the beneficiaries and their representatives.

C.Urgent actions discontinued, closed or kept open for the protection of persons to whom interim measures have been granted

49.In accordance with the criteria adopted in plenary by the Committee at its eighth session:

(a)An urgent action is discontinued when the disappeared person has been located but is still detained. This is because the person in question is particularly vulnerable to being subjected to a further enforced disappearance and to being placed outside the protection of the law;

(b)An urgent action is closed when the missing person has been found at liberty or located and released, or has been found dead, provided that the relatives and/or authors do not contest these facts;

(c)An urgent action is kept open when the disappeared person has been located but the persons to whom interim measures have been granted in the context of the urgent action are still under threat. In such cases, the actions taken by the Committee are limited to following up on the interim measures.

50.Whenever informed by the author or the State party that a person has been located, the Committee waits for the confirmation of the information before closing or discontinuing the urgent action.

51.At the time of writing, the Committee had closed a total of 51 urgent action cases: in 29 of these cases the disappeared persons had been located and released alive and in 22 cases the disappeared persons had been found dead.

52.In addition, the Committee has discontinued 13 requests for urgent action because the disappeared persons have been located but remain in detention.

53.In two urgent action cases, it has been determined that the disappeared person has been found dead but the urgent action remains open because the persons who were granted interim measures are still under threat.

D.Actions taken following the decisions adopted by the plenary at its fifteenth and sixteenth sessions

54.The Committee reiterates that the number of registered urgent actions continues to rise. This situation requires an urgent increase in the number of staff dedicated to the treatment of urgent actions within the OHCHR secretariat.

55.The Committee has taken into account the position of various States parties regarding urgent actions in which the alleged acts cannot be clearly attributed to persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State. In that regard, the Committee reiterates its position that States parties must carry out an exhaustive investigation of the events based on all existing scenarios, including that they correspond to enforced disappearance.

56.The Committee considers that it has the competence to initiate urgent actions in cases in which the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has adopted interim measures requesting the search for and location of the disappeared person: the scope of urgent actions is wider than the scope of such interim measures and, consequently, these interim measures cannot be considered as lis alibi pendens under article 30 (2) (e) of the Convention. In such cases, the Committee has coordinated with the Inter-American Commission in order to avoid the duplication of actions.

57.The Committee also considers that it has the competence to register urgent actions with respect to the disappearance of persons who are returned by a State party to a non-State party, pursuant to the obligation of cooperation by States parties (arts. 14 and 15 of the Convention) and the obligation of non-refoulement (art. 16).

Chapter XICommunications procedure under article 31 of the Convention

58.No new individual complaints have been registered by the Committee over the period covered by the present report.

59.As regards the Yrusta and del Valle Yrusta v . Argentina (CED/C/10/D/1/2013), the Committee examined the follow-up information submitted by the parties. In view thereof, the Committee considered that the measures taken by the State party had not fully implemented its recommendations, in particular the following recommendations: to recognize the authors’ status as victims, thereby allowing them to play an effective part in the investigations into the death and enforced disappearance of their brother; to prosecute, judge and punish the persons responsible for the violations that had been committed; and to provide the authors with rehabilitation and prompt, fair and adequate compensation, in accordance with article 24 (4) and (5) of the Convention. The Committee therefore decided to maintain the follow-up procedure and to send a note verbale to the permanent mission of the State party and a letter to the authors informing them accordingly.

Chapter XIIVisits under article 33 of the Convention

60.In line with its previous exchange of correspondence with Mexico, which had started in May 2013, a reminder was sent in January 2019 to the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva, reiterating the Committee’s request for a visit to Mexico and requesting the State Party to engage with the Committee in a constructive dialogue to discuss the time frame and modalities of the visit.

61.During its sixteenth session, the Committee met with representatives of the Permanent Mission of Mexico to discuss the matter.

Chapter XIIIGuiding principles for the search for disappeared persons

62.At its fifteenth session, the Committee prepared draft guiding principles for the search for disappeared persons. The Committee decided to conduct a broad consultation process, with a call for written contributions from 25 November 2018 to 25 January 2019.

63.In total, 46 submissions were received, 28 from organizations of victims and civil society, 1 from a national human rights institution, 3 from specialized agencies and United Nations entities, 2 from intergovernmental organizations, 9 from States parties, and 3 from academia. The consultation process was particularly supported by OHCHR in Mexico, the German Institute for Human Rights, the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Universidad Externado de Colombia, with the organization of workshops in Berlin, Bogotá and Mexico City for individuals and national, international and regional organizations to discuss the principles.

64.At its sixteenth session, the Committee continued its discussions on a revised version of the draft guiding principles, prepared by two rapporteurs of the Committee on the basis of submissions received from different stakeholders during the consultation process. The Committee benefited from an analytical note on the contributions prepared by Gabriella Citroni, Senior Legal Advisor, TRIAL International, and the Swiss Peace Foundation. After a long process of analysis and consideration of the draft, on 16 April 2019, the Committee adopted the guiding principles for the search for disappeared persons (CED/C/7).

65.The Committee expresses its gratitude to all stakeholders that contributed to and were involved in the process that led to the adoption of the guiding principles. The Committee calls on all interested parties to ensure the broadest possible dissemination of the guiding principles and the collection of good practices in their implementation.


States parties to the Convention as at 18 April 2019 and their reporting status

State party (in order of ratification)


Entry into force

Deadline for reporting under art. 2 9 (1)

Report submitted


8 Nov. 2007

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012

11 Nov. 2015


14 Dec. 2007

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012

21 Dec. 2012


18 Mar. 2008

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012

11 Mar. 20 14


1 Apr. 2008

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012

4 Feb. 2016

France *

23 Sept. 2008

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012

21 Dec. 2012


11 Dec. 2008

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012

28 Apr. 201 5


17 Dec. 2008

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012

28 Sept. 2018


2 Feb. 2009

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012

24 Apr. 2015


27 Feb. 2009

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012

3 June 2014


4 Mar. 2009

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012

4 Sept. 2012


1 July 2009

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012


23 July 2009

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012

22 July 2016


27 July 2009

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012


24 Sept. 2009

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012

26 Dec. 2012


24 Sept. 2009

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012

25 Mar. 2013


20 Oct. 2009

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012

5 June 2015

Burkina Faso

3 Dec. 2009

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012

7 Oct. 2014


8 Dec. 2009

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012

1 Dec. 2017


3 Aug. 2010

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012

28 Aug. 2013


23 Nov. 2010

23 Dec. 2010

23 Dec. 2012

26 June 2014


29 Nov. 2010

29 Dec. 2010

29 Dec. 2012


19 Jan. 2011

18 Feb. 2011

18 Feb. 2013

10 June 2015


24 Jan. 2011

23 Feb. 2011

23 Feb. 2013

14 Oct. 2013


23 Mar. 2011

22 Apr. 2011

22 Apr. 2013

11 June 2013


4 Apr. 2011

4 May 2011

4 May 2013

Serbia *

18 May 2011

17 June 2011

17 June 2013

30 Dec. 2013


2 June 2011

2 July 2011

2 July 2013

8 July 2013


24 June 2011

24 July 2011

24 July 2013


29 June 2011

29 July 2011

29 July 2013

25 Sept. 2014


20 Sept. 2011

20 Oct. 2011

20 Oct. 2013

30 Jan. 2014

Costa Rica

16 Feb. 2012

17 Mar. 2012

17 Mar. 2014

Bosnia and Herzegovina*

30 Mar. 2012

29 Apr. 2012

29 Apr. 2014

26 Jan. 2015


7 June 2012

7 July 2012

7 July 2014

31 May 2016


11 July 2012

10 Aug. 2012

10 Aug. 2014

17 Dec. 2014


26 Sept. 2012

26 Oct. 2012

26 Oct. 2014

8 Aug. 2016


3 Oct. 2012

2 Nov. 2012

2 Nov. 2014


27 Nov. 2012

27 Dec. 2012

27 Dec. 2014


14 May 2013

13 June 2013

13 June 2015


27 June 2013

27 July 2013

27 July 2015


14 Aug. 2013

13 Sept. 2013

13 Sept. 2015

6 Oct. 2015


6 Dec. 2013

5 Jan. 2014

5 Jan. 2016


27 Jan. 2014

26 Feb. 2014

26 Feb. 2016

22 June 2016


21 July 2014

20 Aug. 2014

20 Aug. 2016


15 Dec. 2014

14 Jan. 2015

14 Jan. 2017

26 Apr. 2018


12 Feb. 2015

14 Mar. 2015

14 Mar. 2017

27 Dec. 2018


27 Mar. 2015

26 Apr. 2015

26 Apr. 2017


9 July 2015

8 Aug. 2015

8 Aug. 2017

1 Feb. 2019


24 July 2015

23 Aug. 2015

23 Aug. 2017


14 Aug. 2015

13 Sept. 2015

13 Sept. 2017


14 Aug. 2015

13 Sept. 2015

13 Sept. 2017


8 Oct. 2015

7 Nov. 2015

7 Nov. 2017

22 Dec. 2017

Sri Lanka

25 May 2016

24 June 2016

24 June 2018

Central African Republic

11 Oct. 2016

10 Nov. 2016

10 Nov. 2018


2 Dec. 2016

1 Jan. 2017

1 Jan. 2019

21 Dec. 2018


18 Jan. 2017

17 Feb. 2017

17 Feb. 2019


8 Feb. 2017

10 Mar. 2017

10 Mar. 2019


14 July 2017

13 Aug. 2017

13 Aug. 2019


2 Nov. 2017

2 Dec. 2017

2 Dec. 2019


28 Sept. 2018

28 Oct. 2018

28 Oct. 2020

Note : States parties marked with an asterisk have made declarations recognizing the competence of the Committee under articles 31 and /or 32 of the Convention. The full text of declarations and reservations made by States Parties is available at ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-16&chapter=4&lang=en .