Committee on Enforced Disappearances General comment on enforced disappearances in the context of migration - concept note DEADLINE FOR WRITTEN CONTRIBUTIONS: 20 JUNE 2022 I. Introduction 1. Numbers of migrants worldwide remain high, caused by international or internal conflicts, persecutioni, natural disasters, difficult economic situation, high crime rate ii For the purpose of this concept note/ general comment migrants are considered to encompass asylum seekers and refugees, as well as persons who migrate for economic, labour, climatic or other reasons”. iii Thousands of migrants are going missing en route to reach their destination country or in the destination country itself.iv “Missing person”, as defined by the ICRC, “is a person whose whereabouts are unknown to his/her relatives and/or who, on the basis of reliable information, has been reported missing in accordance with the national legislation in connection with an international or non-international armed conflict, a situation of internal violence or disturbances, natural catastrophes or any other situation that may require the intervention of a competent State authority.” v The expression “missing migrants” includes inter alia migrants who have died “in transportation accidents, shipwrecks, violent attacks, or due to medical complications during their journeys. It also includes the number of corpses found at border crossings that are categorized as the bodies of migrants, on the basis of belongings and/or the characteristics of the death.” vi 2. A particular objective of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration vii, adopted in 2018 and addressing all dimensions of migration, is to “save lives and establish coordinated international efforts on missing migrants. The UN General Assembly in its 2019 Resolution on protection of migrantsviii declared its concern at the large and growing number of migrants in vulnerable situations, stressed the obligation of States to promote and protect the human rights of migrants regardless of their migration status, and called for international cooperation I.e., in cases of migrants who have died or gone missing. 3. Among missing migrants are persons who have been subjected to “enforced disappearances”, in the meaning of article 2 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons Against Enforced Disappearances (ICPPED). Triggered by massive migration movements, enforced disappearances in the context of migration have become the increasingly warning human rights violations that occur along various migration routes around the world. 4. This phenomenon has been initially articulated in the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) 2017 Reportix on Enforced disappearances in the context of migration. The WGEID identified that enforced disappearance of migrants could occur (a) as a result of the abduction of migrants for political or other reasons; (b) during the detention of migrants or the execution of deportation proceedings; (c) or as a possible consequence of smuggling and/or trafficking. 5. The Guiding Principles for the Search for Disappeared Persons x adopted by the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) in 2019 emphasise the particular vulnerability of migrants, call upon States to pay attention to the risks of enforced disappearance, which increase as a result of migration, and ask for specific coordinated search and protection measures taking into account the difficulties associated with migration situations. 6. Despite the identification of the issue of enforced disappearance of migrants, it remains marginalized in the political and legal discourse, including the specificities of legal obligations of States in these cases. Rigid migration policies of States such as refusal of entry, pushbacks often accompanied by violence, expulsion or detention, and the increasingly perilous journeys of migrants cause a particular risk to become victims of enforced disappearances. This is by no means a problem of certain states only. Deaths and disappearances on various migration routes are widely reported. However, there is a lack of statistical data, and it is not possible to establish the exact number of migrants victims of enforced disappearances. 7. Although States have a sovereign prerogative to manage their borders and regulate migration, their national migration policies must be in full compliance with their international human rights (add: humanitarian law

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