Olivier de Frouville, candidate for the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearences

France presents the candidacy of Olivier de Frouville for a seat on the Committee on Enforced Disappearances for the period 2019-2023. The fifth Meeting of States parties to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and the election of five members of the Committee will take place in New York, on 25 June 2019.

The Committee on Enforced Disappearances

The CED was established by the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2006 (the Convention). It is composed of 10 independent experts from the 59 Sates Parties to the Convention. It was set up within the United Nations with the aim of monitoring the effective implementation of the Convention by the States Parties.

The Committee on Enforced Disappearances has several functions:

  • A monitoring function in that it reviews State Parties reports on the effective implementation of the Convention and may receive and consider individual communications under article 31 or Inter-State communications under article 32 concerning allegations that a State Party is seriously violating the Convention if that State Party has ratified both articles ;
  • A support function allowing relatives of a missing person to submit a request to search for and find the missing person ;
  • A preventive function to visit and investigate without delay and upon the express agreement of the State party concerned by the allegations ;
  • A warning function in that the Committee is empowered to call upon the United Nations General Assembly to address deteriorating situations and widespread or systematic enforced disappearances.

To date, 59 States are Parties to the Convention, including France since 2008. Only 21 of the 59 States Parties to the Convention, including France, have recognized the dual competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances to receive and consider individual communications (article 31) and Inter-State communications (article 32).

The candidacy of Olivier de Frouville

Olivier de Frouville, Professor of Public Law and human rights advocate

A leading academic career in the area of human rights

Olivier de Frouville has an in-depth knowledge of human rights, to which he has dedicated his academic career. A Professor of Public Law in leading French universities, Director of the Paris Research Centre for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, member of the Institut universitaire de France, he is the author of numerous publications and has participated in multiple conferences and seminars, helping to spread a culture of human rights and international law in France and abroad.

Practical experience in international mechanisms to protect fundamental rights

For more than 20 years, Olivier de Frouville has put his skills to work in international mechanisms to protect human rights. Since 2009, he has been France’s designated expert working in the Human Dimen¬sion Mechanism of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). As a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, he was responsible for monitoring the implementation by the States Parties of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966. He represented the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) as part of the United Nations working group responsible for negotiating and drafting a declaration for the protection of human rights defenders. As a Member of the French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH), he has helped to uphold and implement human rights and international humanitarian law in France.

A specialist in enforced disappearances Profession de foi du candidat

For many years, Olivier de Frouville has been fully dedicated to combatting enforced disappearances, an area in which he is a recognized expert. As a FIDH representative, he was involved in drafting the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. He was also member, Vice-Chairperson and Chair-Rapporteur of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. In that capacity, he was responsible for response procedures to the urgent appeals from victims’ families and made several field visits. He has written several academic articles and books on enforced disappearances in international law, including on the work of the Working Group and the Committee on Enforced Disappearances.

Candidate’s motivation

During the four-year term, I want to serve the Committee and the Convention by pursuing two main objectives: sustaining the achievements of the Committee’s first years of operation and increasing its influence to further strengthen the fight against enforced disappearance.

Far from being a regional or sectoral issue, enforced disappearance is a global issue which affects all States. It is essential to combat enforced disappearance, so the Convention must be universally ac-cepted as soon as possible.

Since the Committee was set up, much work has been completed both procedurally and normatively. The Committee now has well-established practices and lines of decision. The Convention’s impact on the States Parties must now be increased, i.e. by ensuring that the Convention is an operational tool for each State Party, with clear objectives and targeted actions. This can be achieved by constructive dialogue and monitoring specific areas in order to promote improve¬ments in legislation and practices. This also means promoting more decisive action on urgent appeals and searching for disappeared persons in collaboration with the relevant States. The Committee must also work closely with associations for the families of disappeared persons and civil society so that the Committee can continue to listen to their requests and concerns. Close attention must also be paid to the specific impact of enforced disappearances on women, but also children, in line with the other competent bodies.

The Committee is part of a broader institutional environment: the committee system, which requires close coordination and harmonization of procedures, but also the rest of the United Nations system and regional organizations. Similarly, we must maintain active cooperation with the ICRC, which in many countries plays a major role for disappeared persons and their loved ones.

My candidacy thus follows on from the remarkable work carried out by the current French Committee member, Emmanuel Decaux, combining professionalism, energy, expertise, a sense of responsibility and a constant desire for dialogue with all stakeholders.

Olivier de Frouville

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