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Submission of info on disappeared

Explanatory note for the submission of information on enforced or involuntary disappearances of persons

Reports of enforced or involuntary disappearances of persons may be transmitted to the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances of the Commission of Human Rights, c/o Centre for Human Rights, United Nations Office at Geneva, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland, cable address UNATIONS GENEVA, telex 289696.

Experience has shown that information on the enforced or involuntary disappearance of a person varies greatly in detail by reason of the nature of each case and the surrounding circumstances. While it is important to receive as much information as possible, missing details should not prevent the submission of reports. However, the Working Group can only deal with clearly identified individual cases containing the following minimum elements of information:

  1. Full name of the missing person (including any available data relevant to the missing person's identification, such as national identity document number, photograph, etc.);
  2. Year, month, day of the disappearance;
  3. Place of arrest or abduction or where the missing person was last seen;
  4. Indication of the persons believed to have carried out the arrest or abduction;
  5. Indication of the action taken by the relatives or others to locate the missing person (inquiries with authorities, habeas corpus petitions, etc.);
  6. Identity of the person or organization submitting the report (name and address, which will be kept confidential upon request).

Information on the enforced or involuntary disappearance of a person may be submitted in any written form, in urgent cases preferably by cable or telex. In submitting such reports, consideration may be given to preparing a narrative summary of the events and providing, to the extent possible, the information listed on the attached form. A photograph of the missing person and annexes, such as habeas corpus petitions or statements of witnesses, can be sent with the suggested form. Please send only copies of documents, the originals should remain in your files. The person or organization making the reports should be clearly identified and an address should be given at which they can be contacted. If the author of the report is not a relative of the missing person, but acts, directly or indirectly, upon the family's request, he should remain in contact with the family, since any replies obtained by the Working Group on the missing person's fate or whereabouts are for the exclusive information of the relatives.


I. Identity of the person subjected to enforced or involuntary disappearance

  1. Family name:
  2. First name:
  3. Sex: Male Female
  4. Birth date or age (at time of disappearance):
  5. Nationality (ies):
  6. Civil status (single, married, etc.):
  7. Identity document/ Nr.
  8. Profession:
  9. Address of usual residence:
  10. Activities: (trade union, political, religious, humanitarian/solidarity, press, etc.)

II. Date of disappearance

  1. Year, month, day and hour when missing person was arrested or abducted:
  2. Year, month, day and hour when missing person was last seen:
  3. Other indications relating to date of disappearance:

III. Place of disappearance

(Please indicate as precisely as possible country, province, city, location, etc. and if identical with home address)

  1. Place where missing person was arrested or abducted:
  2. Place where missing person was last seen:
  3. If subsequent to the disappearance of the person information was received about him/her being detained, please indicate, if possible, the places (official or others) and period of detention, as well as the source of the information, in particular witnesses who have seen the disappeared person in captivity. (Do you wish the identity of the witnesses or sources to be kept confidential?)
  4. Other indications concerning the place of disappearance:

IV. Forces believed to be responsible for the disappearance

  1. If the person was arrested or abducted, please indicate who carried out the arrest: military, police, persons in uniform or civilian clothes, agents of security services, unidentified; whether these agents identified themselves (with credentials, orally, etc.); whether they were armed; whether they appeared to act with impunity; whether a vehicle was used (official, with or without licence plages, etc.).
  2. If the forces or agents who carried out the arrest or abduction cannot be identified, state why you believe that Government authorities, or persons linked to them, are responsible for the disappearance:
  3. If the arrest or abduction took place in the presence of witnesses indicate the names of the witnesses. If the witnesses have not identified themselves or wish to withhold their names, indicate if they are relatives, neighbours, bypassers etc.:
  4. If any written evidence of the arrest exists, please describe (arrest order, communiqués, official notes, letters, etc.);
  5. If a search took place of the missing person's domicile, office of place of work (or that of any other person connected with him/her), before, during or after the disappearance, please indicate and describe the search:
  6. If someone was questioned concerning the disappeared person by agents of the security services, official authorities or other persons related to them, before of after the arrest (or disappearance), please indicate and provide available information concerning the questioning:

V. National action (legal or other) on behalf of the missing person

  1. Habeas corpus, amparo or similar
  1. Nature of the action:
  2. Date:
  3. Tribunal:
  4. Result (date and nature):
  5. If a judicial decision exists please indicate its contents, if possible:
  1. Criminal complaints
  1. Nature of the action:
  2. Date:
  3. Tribunal:
  4. Result (date and nature):
  5. If a judicial decision exists please indicate its contents, if possible:
  1. Other measures taken at the national level

(Letters, petitions, etc., or other steps taken before the civil or military authorities):

VI. Measures taken at the international level on behalf of the missing person

  1. Organizations addressed
  2. Date:
  3. Result (date and nature):

VII. Related cases of arrest or disappearance, in particular missing relatives of children.

  1. Please give a narrative account indicating relevant names, dates and places:
  2. If the missing person was pregnant at the time of disappearance, please indicate the date on which her baby might have been born:

VIII. Information concerning the author of the present report

  1. Surname:
  2. First name:
  3. Nationality (ies):
  4. Relationship with the missing person:
  5. Present address:

IX. Confidentiality

  1. Please state whether the author of the present report wishes his/her identity to be kept confidential: .

Note: If any information contained in the present report should be kept confidential please print the world "CONFIDENTIAL" beside the relevant entry.

X. Date:

Signature of author:

(c) Copyright 1997
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Geneva, Switzerland

Posted on 1999-01-01


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