Final declaration of the 4th Euro-Mediteranean conference
Beirut- On the 23th and 24th of November 2013, family associations of the disappeared coming from all around the Euro-Mediterranean region- Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Serbia and Turkey-, as well as from other regions, international and Lebanese non-governmental organizations, international and local experts, judges, lawyers, journalists as well as representatives of national and international institutions, decided to convey its 4th Euro-Mediterranean Conference of the Family Associations of the Disappeared in Beirut, in order to tackle specifically the theme of “Enforced Disappearances, Truth and the Fight Against Impunity”. This event was organized by the Euro-Mediterranean Federation against Enforced Disappearances (FEMED), in partnership with the Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH), the Association SOLIDE and the Committee of the Families of the Kidnapped and the Disappeared in Lebanon.
This conference was a crucial opportunity to take stock of the implementation process of the 2006 International Convention for the protection of All Persons against Enforced or involuntary Disappearance on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea, and the positive developments, difficulties and stakes ahead with regards to its domestication, in particular in Lebanon. This opportunity also allowed to put into perspective the issue of enforced disappearance with the priority of the Duty of Truth for victims and their families, and with the imperative fight against impunity, the issue of duty of memory as well as the transversal assessment of the family needs of the Disappeared. This conference also paved the way to the use of universal jurisdiction in the framework of the fight enforced disappearances, and shed light on the role that women play in transitional justice processes and within the fight against enforced disappearances on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea.
Following those two days of exchanges, participants of the 4th Euro-Mediterranean Conference against Enforced Disappearances officially request:
• To the States of the Euro-Mediterranean Region:
- Stop the practice of arbitrary detentions, torture and other inhuman or degrading treatment, and ensure that the crime of enforced disappearance constitutes a specific criminal offence included the penal law in order to take all the necessary measures against perpetrators of those crimes, thus putting an end to the practice of enforced disappearances on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea;
- Recognize the primary role of the family associations of the Disappeared in the process leading to the resolution of missing cases. Pursue a continuous dialogue with those associations in order to answer to the various needs of the families of the Disappeared, in particular those of mothers/wives/sisters;
- Respect the freedom of movement, right of expression and peaceful mobilization of relatives and associations representing the families of the Disappeared as well as Human Rights Defenders;
- Ensure that the right to know et the duty of Truth becomes a reality for the families of the Disappeared, the right to access impartial and independent justice both in its functioning and its ruling, as well as the right to lodge an appeal on national, regional or international level, including the access to universal jurisdiction, the right to compensations and the non-occurrence of past violations.
- Sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons against Enforced Disappearances, without reservations, while recognizing the authority of the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances regarding the submission of individual and State complaints;
- Sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, and put in place a national mechanism for the prevention of torture that could access all persons deprived of their freedom in all kind of places of detention, without any hindrances;
• To the Lebanese authorities:
- Request from the Lebanese government to establish a DNA database for the families of the victims of disappearance and enforced disappearance and facilitate the mapping process of all mass graves in Lebanon, exhumations in an impartial and independent manner, identification of mortal remains and restitution to the families, in accordance with international standards related to forensics.
- Request from the Lebanese government to submit and publish a report about the work of the joint Lebanese - Syrian commission for the missing, and clarify the fate and whereabouts of the Lebanese nationals who were illegally arrested by the Syrian army in Lebanon and then transferred to Syrian prisons to become victims of enforced disappearance;
- Request from the Lebanese government to publish a list of all the Lebanese nationals and non-Lebanese residing in Lebanon who were arrested by the Lebanese security and transferred to Syrian intelligence;
- Request the Lebanese authorities to issue a certificate of disappearance whenever needed by the families concerned;
- Open real criminal proceedings against suspected perpetrators of crimes of enforced disappearances in order to establish the reality of individual responsibility and sanction perpetrators;
- Declare officially the 13th of April as the national day commemorating the memory all victims of the Lebanese war;
- In that framework, in line with the ratification by Lebanon in the course of 2008 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention of Torture, the establishment of a real national mechanism for the prevention of torture that could visit individuals deprived of their freedom in all kind of places of detention, without hindrances;
- Request from the Lebanese authorities to take actions in order to request the Israeli authorities to shed light on the fate and whereabouts of Lebanese victims of enforced disappearances in Israel;
- Request from the Lebanese authorities to take actions in order to request the Libyan authorities to shed light on the fate and whereabouts of Sheikh Moussa Sadr and his two colleagues, sheikh Mohamed Yacoub and the journalist Abbas Badr El Din;
- Ratify the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance, without any reservation;
- Ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as a deterrent to the repetition of the crimes of enforced disappearances.
- Facilitate the movement and the delivery of visas for family associations’ representatives and Human Rights defenders, from all regions, in order to be able to attend and participate to the work of regional and international events in Beirut;
• To the international community:
- Foster, through a national, regional and international dialogue with States aiming at shedding light on Truth, Justice and stopping enforced disappearances, en environment conducive to a universal ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons against Enforced Disappearance, and to the recognition of the mandate of the Committee on Enforced Disappearance in terms of individual and State complaints;
- Reinforce the Human Rights Protection international mechanisms that have the mandate to open proceedings related to cases of enforced disappearances, and facilitate country visits of the UN Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances in the Euro-Mediterranean region;
- Facilitate the organization of regional as well as international conferences of the Family associations of the disappeared in the framework of the political dialogue focused on this issue.