Remarks in a UN Third Committee Dialogue with the Chair of the Working Group on Enforced Disappearances

Jason Mack
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, NY
October 17, 2019


Chairperson Duhaime, the United States thanks you and the Working Group on Enforced Disappearances for your work on this important issue. The chilling and devastating effect of enforced disappearances in a society cannot be overstated – these acts not only affect victims and their families, but can also deprive societies of important voices advocating for human rights. We call upon all Member States to cooperate with the Working Group, including by facilitating access for country visits when requested.

Enforced disappearances are a serious problem in a number of countries around the world.

We are deeply troubled, by reports of ongoing abductions of civil society, labor, and opposition leaders in Zimbabwe. Since January 2019, over fifty such abductions have been reported. To date, there have been no arrests in these cases, denying justice to the victims’ families and creating a culture of impunity for human rights abusers. The September 2019, five-day abduction and reported torture of doctors’ union leader Dr. Peter Magombeyi is but one example of this troubling trend. We urge the government to take swift action to account for the whereabouts of all disappeared individuals and to investigate and hold the perpetrators accountable.

The United States remains gravely concerned by the Chinese government’s repression of Uighurs, ethnic Kyrgyz, ethnic Kazakh and members of other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang. The more than one million individuals detained in camps since April 2017 include doctors, academics, business people, children and the elderly – held in detention facilities with no access to family or legal counsel. We join the world community in calling upon the Chinese government to end this highly repressive campaign, and provide full accountability of those who have simply vanished into its system of internment camps, “re-education” and forced labor facilities, and prisons.

We are also incredibly concerned by extrajudicial killings, reports of enforced disappearances, and arbitrary detentions by the Maduro Regime to stifle opposition voices in Venezuela.

Chairperson Duhaime – what more can be done to hold government’s accountable in cases where they are responsible for enforced disappearances?