Monday, November 29, 2010

Disappearance Convention update

The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance is an international treaty aimed at outlawing disappearance and bringing its perpetrators to justice. It requires its parties to outlaw and punish disappearance (and assert extraterritorial jurisdiction if necessary), as well as take specific measures (such as tracking prisoners) to ensure it does not happen. Opened for signature in December 2006, it has languished for the last four years, waiting for enough countries to ratify it to bring it into force.

Until now. Last week, Iraq became the 20th country to ratify the Convention. Meaning that it will come into force on 23 December.

Sadly, New Zealand has not been part of this human rights achievement. Instead, we've refused to sign or ratify the Convention, using minor (and easily resolvable) inconsistencies with other international law as the excuse. The real reason, of course, is that the Convention outlaws the American practice of rendition; signing it would be seen as criticising America, and apparently no New Zealand government wants to do that.