Missing persons and victims of enforced disappearance in Europe

The protracted inability of European countries to shed light on the fate and whereabouts of tens of thousands of persons who are missing or disappeared following conflicts or dictatorships across the continent is an open wound for their relatives and constitutes a serious human rights violation. It is high time to close the shameful gap between what families need and what states do” said Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing an Issue Paper on missing persons and victims of enforced disappearance in Europe. The Commissioner proposes nine sets of recommendations intended to help states improve their legislation and practice. In particular, he recommends: providing direct victims and their families with adequate reparation, including the necessary legal, social and psychological support; enhancing the processes of exhumation and identification; training public officials on missing persons and enforced disappearance; supporting missing person mechanisms and truth-seeking initiatives; ensuring effective access to information and archives; strengthening domestic legislation in this field; carrying out effective investigations and eradicating impunity; and promoting and implementing relevant international and European standards.


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