On the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances EOHR demands the enactment of a law to incriminate this vile practice

September 6th, 2018 by Editor

On the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances

EOHR demands the enactment of a law to incriminate this vile practice

The phenomenon of enforced disappearance constitutes a violation of a cheer number of fundamental rights including, the right to liberty and security of person, the right to the integrity of the body from torture and the right to a fair trial. As stipulated in international human rights instruments as well as the Egyptian constitution.

Enforced disappearance is defined in article 2 of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED) as:

  • “enforced disappearance” is considered to be the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) considers CED to be among the most important steps taken by the international community to uphold and protect the values and universal principle of human rights. CED considers enforced disappearance  a crime against humanity and called upon Governments to consider forces of law enforcement to bear responsibility for any abuses that could result in enforced disappearances; CED also instructed governments to take legislative, administrative, judicial and other effective measures to prevent and end enforced disappearances.

The phenomenon of enforced disappearance is one of the most dangerous phenomena that need urgent attention. EOHR calls upon all those concerned with defending human dignity to join efforts to tackle this problem effectively and work to drag it from the shadows out to the spotlight.

EOHR has attached great importance to the phenomenon of enforced disappearance since 1992 and has been working since then to confront it by all legitimate means possible as it constitutes a gross violation of fundamental human rights.

EOHR calls upon the Egyptian authorities to adopt the needed measures  to curb the spread of Enforced Disappearance as well as the firm application of international human rights instruments and agreements, because this crime is a violation of the most basic rights and freedoms of detainees.

Dr. Hafez Abu Seada the president of EOHR said that Egyptian law does not contain a direct legal provision that deals with the definition, criminalization and punishment of the crime of enforced disappearance but added however that article 280 of the Penal Code criminalizes the arrest or detention of persons without permission of the competent authority. Abu Seada also called upon the authorities to issue a law specifically criminalizing this crime, and to punish anyone who commits, participates, contributes to its occurrence. Abu Seada concluded by advising the government to place the names of all detainees and detainees on an official website the Internet so that their place of and reason for detention can be accessed by anyone who searches for them.

Recommendations:

Legislative Recommendations:

  1. The enactment of a law that criminalizes all acts of enforced disappearance
  2. Inserting an additional article in the Penal Code to increase the penalty for every public official who contributes in any way to legal participation in the enforced disappearance of a person or conceals information that impedes the work of the competent administrative authorities to investigate complaints of enforced disappearance.
  • The House of Representatives should tighten its oversight of security services by forming a committee from its members tasked with monitoring the commitment of security services to the law and the Constitution.
  1. The House of Representatives should grant the competent authorities the right to consider and investigate complaints relating to enforced disappearances.

Recommendations to the Prosecutor General:

  1. The names of detainees, the date of their detention, places of detention and the date of their release should be placed in a register that can be accessed publicly
  2. The expediting of the investigation of reports of enforced disappearances submitted to the office of the Prosecutor General or his subordinates and responding to them by an official letter containing the results of the investigation, and to take all the necessary and sufficient legal procedures based on the findings of such complaints
  • Assign sufficient number of prosecutors for immediate deployment to the places where a forcefully disappeared person is being held in the event where there is adequate evidence to support that.

Recommendations to the Ministry of Interior:

  1. The Ministry of Interior should seriously investigate all complaints they receive alleging enforced disappearance, and that results of these investigations should be announced in a timely manner.
  2. The Ministry of the Interior should be obliged to send the detained person to the specific hearing to address his appeal against the detention decision, or to inform the court of the detainee’s status, whether he was released, the date of release and where he was held according to The Egyptian Prison Service’s records. The statement must signed by the prison warden and the Director of the Prisons Service.
  • The Ministry must allow the concerned parties to know the details of each detainee, the reason for his/her detention and his/her place of detention.
  1. The ministry should refer officers found to be involved in the unlawful detention or concealment of persons to a Disciplinary Tribunal regardless of the outcome of the criminal investigation in this regard
  2. The ministry should allow human rights organizations to visit places of detention to follow up and investigate the complaints of detainees and to verify the compliance of law enforcement officials with the legal procedures on the treatment of detainees and prisoners.

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