UN expert urges governments to do more to protect displaced persons

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UNITED NATIONS, Oct 21 (APP):The number of internally displaced persons had doubled to 40.3 million since 2000, and in many cases they had been forced to flee their homes by conflict and violence, a United Nations expert has told a U.N. General Assembly’s panel.
Presenting her first annual report as a mandate-holder to the 193-member Assembly’s Third Committee — which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural matters — Cecilia Jimenez -Damary, the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, said internally displaced persons were increasingly being locked into protracted displacement for years or even decades. She was one of six experts presenting their reports to the Committee and discussing a range of findings.
Among other things, Ms. Jimenez-Damary said she would work to ensure that internally displaced persons were included in transitional justice processes, so they would be made active partners in their recovery.
She would also seek to improve the protection of internally displaced children by promoting State responsibility. National human rights institutions could take on a greater role in that regard by promoting training on international human rights law and standards.
Suela Janina, Chairperson of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, said the pace of countries ratifying the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance had been slow, and thus, welcomed the launch of the campaign aiming to double ratifications in the coming five years.
Further, she said only 23 of the 57 State parties” less than half the total ” had accepted the Committee’s competence to receive individual communications under the Convention’s article 31. She called on them to allow individual communications to be fully operational as an instrument.
“Enforced disappearance is one of the most egregious crimes that human history has experienced,” she stressed, adding it was time for States to reengage in a broad coalition to increase ratifications.
Similarly, Bernard Duhaime, Chair of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, said the 1,094 new cases reported to 36 States in the last reporting period was “unacceptably” high.
Short term disappearances, during which people were often tortured to elicit confessions or evidence, had risen globally. The fact that a victim, in many cases, reappeared, did not render that practice less worrisome.
He said threats, intimidation and reprisals against victims or their families were among the biggest concerns, citing the case of the father of a disappeared person arrested on his way to the Human Rights Council session in Geneva, in September 2017.
“We must do more to stop this senseless suffering,” he said, calling enforced disappearance a vile, cowardly act.
States also must do more to ensure migrant workers and their families had access to justice, Jose Brillantes, Chair of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, said. The lack of reasonable avenues for migration led many to sacrifice safety to reach their destinations, he said, stressing that 20 per cent of the 244 million migrants across the world were in irregular situations.