AU Watch

Forced Disappearance

In many conflicts in Africaopponents of the government or people just in the wrong place at the wrong time, have disappeared.Forced disappearance is abduction by state officials or their agents, without due process of law, followed by an official refusal to acknowledge the abduction or to disclose the fate of the person abducted. Governments oftentimes targeting perceived political opponents.The victims of these enforced disappearances are often tortured, and their family are left behind with no information on the whereabouts or fate of their loved one.AU Watch sheds light on this common human rights abuse with the intention of deterring these crimes in the future.
We are adopting a victim-centred approach, and working with partners to bring cases challenging enforced disappearance, and to highlight this particular problem to the African Union and specific governments.Through our work, we seek the development of African standards for the prevention of this crime, while empowering the families of victims to pursue accountability.
We are exploring cross-cutting areas, such as enforced disappearance in the context of migration routes (Sudan, Libya), opposition activists and rights defenders, security and conflict related disappearances (with ethnic and religious minorities targeted) and the long-term disappeared (Algeria and Libya).Our approach also takes into account the gender dimension of enforced disappearance, and the impact of this crime on women and girls in Africa.