" Happy Are Those Who Dream Dreams
and Are Willing to Pay the Price
November 13, 2006 The Third Committee (Social, Cultural and Humanitarian) of The United Nations
(UN), on the occasion of the 61st General Assembly held in New York, adopted by consensus the draft resolution on
the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.
Principally sponsored by the French government and co-sponsored by 103 other UN member-states,
the Convention is a very important human rights instrument for prevention of disappearances. Its first article states
that no one shall be subjected to enforced disappearances under any circumstances. Furthermore, the
Convention provides for the right of the relatives of the disappeared person and of society to know the truth.
The series of unanimous adoptions both by the then Working Group that drafted the instrument and
the recently-established UN Human Rights Council, as expected, were followed by the adoption of the text in
November 2006 by the Third Committee. The treaty's adoption by the Third Committee leading to the eventual entry into
force after the ratifications of at least twenty states is the most-treasured gift the United Nations has bestowed upon
the families of the disappeared worldwide.
The instrument is open for signatures in a historic ceremony to be held on February 7, 2007. Paris,
France, proposed to be the venue for the signing, deserves to be the place for this long-awaited historic moment. After
all, aside from its significance in human rights, Paris is the seat of government of France that deserves the
highest honor and most profound gratitude for its invaluable contribution to the attainment of this future
legally-binding instrument protecting all persons from this heinous crime.
The Convention is especially significant to the peoples of Asia. Aside from having submitted the
highest number of cases to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, Asia lacks regional
human rights mechanisms for protection. Ratification by Asian states and the consequent codification of the offense in
the national legislation would be a giant step in the struggle against impunity. For which reason, AFAD in
cooperation with the rest of the international movement against disappearances, indefatigably works to reach the finish line.
A few weeks prior to the most recent unanimous adoption, the international movement against
enforced disappearances, constituted by federations and associations of families of the disappeared from major regions
of the world, reverberated its voice at the United Nations in New York in what it hopes to be the final lobbying for
the adoption of the Convention by the General Assembly.
French Ambassador to the Holy See, His Excellency Bernard Kessedjian, Chairperson of the then
Inter-sessional Open-Ended Working Group to Elaborate a Draft Legally-Binding Normative Instrument for the
Protection of All Persons from Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, made a final summary of the future treaty before
the United Nations in a High Level Segment meeting organized by the French delegation on October 19, 2006 at the
UN in New York. Recognized as the voice of the families of the disappeared from Asia and Latin America, the
Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and the Latin American Federation of Associations of
Relatives of Disappeared-Detainees (FEDEFAM) made their final interventions on the value of the future instrument to
the struggle against enforced disappearances.
This victory will certainly bring about fresh challenges for the next stages of lobbying. Yet, with the
moral and political victory that the Convention will bring to the
desaparecidos and their families, the international
movement against disappearances wholeheartedly accepts such challenges.
" Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make their dreams come true."