UN Committee lists missing Lankan among cases for urgent action

A UN Committee has listed a missing Sri Lankan among cases which require urgent action.

The UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances has listed Gopalakrishan Kugachelvam in a list of 500 missing persons which requires urgent action.

The Committee published the list of names of the disappeared persons with regard to whom the Committee has requested the State party concerned to take all the necessary measures, including interim measures, to locate and protect them, in application of article 30 of the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons against Enforced Disappearance.

“Each Urgent action represents a disappeared person whose family, relatives and friends are suffering every minute of their life by having no idea as to that person’s fate and whereabouts,” said Suela Janina, Chair of the Committee.

The number of Urgent Actions has been increasing steadily since the Convention entered into force in 2010. On a practical level, when the Committee receives information about an enforced disappearance, it contacts the country concerned and the relatives of the victim or their representatives, Ms. Janina continued.

“When a person is reported to have fallen victim to enforced disappearance, immediate intervention is key”, said Rainer Huhle, vice-president of the Committee.

“There is no valid justification for asking relatives of a disappeared person to wait 24, 48 or 72 hours before taking action”, he emphasized.

This procedure, commonly called “urgent action” is one of the most innovative features of the Convention on enforced disappearance. The exchanges between the Committee, the State party and the person who requested the activation of the urgent action procedure go on until the disappeared person is located. “These exchanges are at the core of the procedure. The Committee can also ask the State party to adopt measures to protect the persons who are in danger because of their link with the disappeared person, or because of the actions they have taken to search for him or her,” said Ms. Janina. (Colombo Gazette)

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