What Role for the Convention against Enforced Disappearance in Times of Migrant Shipwrecks?

This blogpost analyses the provisional version of the very first General Comment to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICED), which the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) decided to dedicate to the problem of enforced disappearance in the context of migration. Given the CED’s focus on enforced disappearance during migrants’ journeys, especially when they risk their lives at sea, here we question what role – if any – the ICED can specifically play in times of migrant shipwrecks and, in the affirmative, how it complements the obligations already emerged from other human rights treaties and areas of international law in case of distress at sea. While highlighting some key definitory problems, especially with regard to the existing difference between the concepts of enforced disappearance and disappeared/missing migrant, this blogpost advances some proposals for improving the CED’s provisional General Comment before its upcoming adoption.

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Carmelo Danisi is an Adjunct Professor of, and Research Fellow in, Public International Law at Alma Mater University of Bologna – Forlì campus (Unibo) and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Sussex. He has also been Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University – College of Law (Endeavour Research Fellowship 2015). He has been involved in several national and international research projects related to international and EU law, such as the protection of the migrant child (University of Sydney-New York School of Law), self-determination and non-self-governing territories (Unibo-CISP Algeria), relationship between international refugee law and human rights law in SOGI asylum (Horizon 2020 ERC project SOGICA – University of Sussex), Russian and Chinese approaches towards international law (Unibo). Among other things, Carmelo has carried out legal analysis for the EU Agency for fundamental rights (Italian focal point for FRA), is a member of the Editorial Board of GenIUS and a regular contributor for Diritto, Immigrazione, Cittadinanza.