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High-level meeting to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance

17 February 2017 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

In accordance with General Assembly resolution 70/160 of 17 December 2015, Peter Thomson, the President of the General Assembly, will convene a high-level meeting to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. This important event will provide us an opportunity to review the positive impact of the Convention during these first ten years and to discuss ways and best practices to prevent enforced disappearances, to combat impunity and to promote and protect all human rights for all.


10 – 10:40AM

OPENING [Trusteeship Council Chamber]

H.E. Mr Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly
Minute of silence in remembrance of the victims of enforced disappearances
Ms. Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on behalf of the Secretary-General H.E. António Guterres
Video message from H.E. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Mr. Santiago Corcuera Cabezut, Chair of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances

10:40AM – 1PM

PLENARY DEBATE [Trusteeship Council Chamber]

Member States, Observers, UN system and other stakeholders (if time permits) will deliver their statements from the floor.

Note: for those MS who haven’t been able to deliver their remarks in the morning segment, they will be given priority to speak during the interactive discussion of the panel discussion.

1 – 3PM



3 – 5PM

PANEL DISCUSSION [Trusteeship Council Chamber]

The panel of experts will examine the possible obstacles encountered by States in the ratification and the best way to address them. Panellists will discuss strategies to overcome these challenges and, in particular, synergies needed between States, human rights mechanisms, inter-governmental organisations, national human rights institutions, and civil 2 society, including families of disappeared persons, to increase the level of ratification of the Convention.


Mr. Emmanuel Decaux, Professor emeritus at University Paris II, President of the International Issues pole of the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, fonner Chair of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances


Mr. Santiago Corcuera Cabezut, Chair of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances
Mr. Bernard Duhaime, Vice-Chair of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances
Mr. Luís Raúl González Pérez, President of the National Commission of Human Rights of Mexico (CNDH), in representation of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI)
Ms. Stéphanie David, Head of the New York Bureau of the Fédération Internationale des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH)
Mr. Horacio Ravenna, member of Asamblea Permanente por los Derechos Humanos (Permanent Assembly for Human Rights – APDH)
Video message from Mr. Louis Joinet, discussing “what the Convention changed and why it matters to reach universal ratification”


Programme [16 February 2017]


The high-level meeting should stimulate reflection and raise awareness on the Convention aimed at encouraging ratifications by States Members of the United Nations. More specifically, it is hoped that the event will contribute to:

a) Take stock of the achievements of the Convention in the past ten years, and discuss ways to ensure its effective implementation;

b) Discuss priorities and strategies to expand the level/degree of ratification of the Convention;

c) Offer a platform for the dissemination of information on the Convention and its procedures for the facilitation of the exchange of experiences, knowledge, and lessons learned.

The underlying challenge in commemorative events is to go beyond the mere stock-taking of the past achievements in order to offer a more forward-looking perspective of the challenges and opportunities ahead. Thus, the event should provide an occasion to encourage Member States to step up their efforts and increase the number of ratifications in the upcoming years.


The high-level meeting convened by the President of the GA will take place in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York, on Friday 17 February 2017 from 10:00am to 5:00pm. The high-level meeting will be divided in a formal segment in the morning and a panel discussion in the afternoon.


The meeting is open to Member States and Observers, UN agencies, programmes and funds, regional human rights mechanisms, national human rights institutions, members of civil society organizations, including families of disappeared persons.


Delegations wishing to speak in the plenary debate of the high-level segment are kindly requested to inscribe with the List of Speakers, General Assembly Affairs Branch(Ms. Mary Muturi (e-mail muturi[at]un.org; with copy to e-mail gaspeakerslist[at]un.org)). For PaperSmart Services, delegations are kindly requested to submit electronic versions of their statements for posting on the PaperSmart portal to papersmart@un.org. The title and the date of the meeting should be indicated in the subject line of the e-mail


UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) is facilitating a process for civil society to apply to attend this special event as observers. Civil society may have the opportunity to comment from the floor during the plenary if time permits. Civil society should have the opportunity to comment from the floor during the interactive dialogue following the Panel Discussion.

Application to attend meeting is closed


8 February 2017 – Apply to attend event as an observer

All applications received can be viewed here

coming soon

16 February 2017

Updated programme

10 February 2017

Concept note and detailed programme

23 January 2017

Invitation and programme

Additional documents

General Assembly resolution 70/160
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance

A brochure on the 10th anniversary of the Convention, highlighting the main features of the Convention and the practical tools available to the people, will be distributed in English, French and Spanish.

Media Advisory

With a view to increasing engagement on the issue of enforced disappearance, the high-level meeting will be webcasted on the UN WebTV


17 February 2017
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Trusteeship Council Chamber, United Nations, New York
New York City, NY United States + Google Map