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On the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the United States stands united with all those affected by the crime of enforced disappearance.  This practice is an egregious violation of human rights prohibited under international law, yet continues to be used to silence dissent and attack civil society.

Every year, ordinary people fall victim to enforced disappearance and vanish without a trace after being arrested, detained, or abducted by government officials or those acting with their tacit assent.  Those responsible often refuse to acknowledge the occurrence of disappearances or may even excuse them as part of counter-terrorism activities.  Authoritarian regimes and their proxies try to instill fear and maintain control by disappearing human rights advocates, political activists, environmental defenders, journalists, and other vulnerable groups such as children and persons with disabilities.

The United States renews its commitment to addressing enforced disappearance and calls on governments around the world to put an end to this practice, hold those responsible to account, reveal the whereabouts or fate of loved ones who have been disappeared, and respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future