The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance states that:
- No one shall be subjected to enforced disappearance;
- No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability, or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for enforced disappearance. (Article 1)
The Convention defines “enforced disappearance” as “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 places such a person outside the protection of the law”. (Article 2)
Ethiopia is yet to ratify the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance but the United Nations Human Rights Committee (the body of independent experts that monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) by its States parties), recalling the same definition, further holds that the disappearance of a person violates many other rights including those of the family members.