EHRAC launches Enforced Disappearance Legal Database

30 August 2022

Today, EHRAC has launched the Enforced Disappearance Legal Database (EDLD), which is the first resource to contain the leading jurisprudence, legislation and soft law on enforced disappearances developed by human rights mechanisms around the world.

Enforced disappearances are one of the most serious forms of human rights violations. They are defined in international human rights law as the deprivation of liberty followed by the subsequent refusal to acknowledge the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared victims by state agents. They are often used as a strategy to spread terror within a targeted population in an effort to eliminate any form of dissent.

August 30 marks the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, a day recognised every year to draw attention to this global issue of enforced disappearances. The EDLD seeks to promote understanding of this complex human rights violation and its development in international human rights law to assist lawyers and relatives in bringing their cases before international mechanisms.

Since its inception in 2003, EHRAC has been working in partnership with civil society in Russia to litigate cases of enforced disappearances perpetrated by Russian forces in Chechnya and surrounding regions before the European Court of Human Rights.

Enforced disappearances were a hallmark of the hostilities that took place between 1999 – 2006 in the Chechen Republic and continue to be practised to this day most notably by Chechen authorities within Chechnya and Russian forces in Ukraine.

Recognising the systemic practice of enforced disappearances in Europe and the absence of a legal search engine dedicated solely to the crime of enforced disappearance, EHRAC sought to create such a resource.

The EDLD allows advocates from Europe and around the world to undertake targeted legal research and comparative jurisdictional analysis of the offence of enforced disappearance. It allows for thematic and key-term searches across jurisdictions and is available in four languages: English, Russian, French and Spanish.

The EDLD was developed by EHRAC in consultation with leading international legal experts from around the world. We are immensely grateful for their invaluable input and support.

Click here to access the EDLD.