Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances – August 30, 2023

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance is commemorated every year on August 30. This day is used to raise awareness about the global number of enforced disappearances. Enforced disappearance has been used to spread a sense of dread throughout society on several occasions. The sense of uncertainty engendered by this practice is felt not just by close family members, but also by their communities. Enforced disappearance has evolved into a global issue that is not limited to a single location. Also, certain groups of people are more vulnerable to this unfortunate predicament.

History of International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances was inspired by the Latin American Federation of Associations for Relatives of Detained-Disappeared (F.E.D.E.F.A.M.), a non-governmental organization founded in Costa Rica in 1981. The organization was active in combating secret imprisonment, forced disappearances, and abduction in several Latin American countries.

On the International Day of the Disappeared, August 30, 2007, hundreds of Filipino relatives and allies of the disappeared demonstrated against the government in large numbers. Edita Burgos was one of them, recalling her missing son, Jonas, a member of the Philippines’ Peasants’ Movement. On August 30, 2008, the International Coalition against Enforced Disappearances, a global alliance of family members and human rights organizations, joined forces in a combined action for a global campaign to promote the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Detainment under dubious circumstances is considered a human rights violation, and the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance as a resolution in December 1992. The United Nations raised concern in 2010 about the rising incidence of involuntary disappearances around the world, as hundreds of thousands of people have disappeared in at least 85 nations around the world during hostilities or periods of tyranny. The U.N. recognized August 30 as an annual event to mark the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance during the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances in 2011.

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances timeline

2010
The Official Declaration

In December, the UN declares that the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances will be observed yearly.

2017
The Missing Person’s Report

The International Commission on Missing Persons issues a report stating that since 1999, more than 6,000 individuals have been reported missing in Kosovo.

2011
The First Observance

The first observance takes place following the UN declaration of August 30 each year as the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance.

2008
The Global Campaign

On August 30, a global coalition of family members and human rights organizations joins forces for a worldwide campaign to promote the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

2006
A Resolution is Adopted

The UN General Assembly establishes this annual memorial through Resolution 65/209, which is passed in December.

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances FAQs

What is the most famous disappearance case?

Madeleine McCann, a three-year-old girl who vanished from a holiday home in Portugal in May 2007 while her parents ate supper 180 feet away.

How many unsolved disappearances are in the U.S.?

The U.S. has about 90,000 unsolved missing persons cases.

Which country has the highest disappearance rate?

Iraq had the highest occurrences of disappearance, according to an official UN assessment from 2009.

How to Observe International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances

  1. Get involved

    Join Amnesty International and participate in the event by becoming a member. For a thorough description of how to register and what you can accomplish, go to their website.

  2. Educate yourself

    Learn about the history of enforced disappearances and why they negatively affect families and communities. Educate yourself and others, and utilize your voice to help people become more conscious.

  3. Spread the word

    If you or someone you know has a personal story to tell regarding victims of enforced disappearances, you can share it. Use your social media handles or speak up at public events set aside for this purpose.

5 Facts About Enforced Disappearances

  1. Certain groups are more vulnerable

    Enforced Disappearance is particularly dangerous for children, women, and disabled people.

  2. Sri Lanka has a problem

    Since the 1980s, the United Nations has received over 12,000 reports of enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka — the second-highest number in the world.

  3. Crime is a factor

    Between 2006 and 2012, more than 26,000 persons were reported missing or disappeared in Mexico, primarily as a result of drug cartel violence and security force deployments to combat organized crime.

  4. The status in Africa

    In 2012, Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for more than a third of the countries where Amnesty International verified enforced disappearances.

  5. Kosovo’s uninvestigated cases

    The United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo has failed to investigate hundreds of enforced disappearances and abductions that occurred in Kosovo during and after the 1998-89 military conflict.

Why International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances is Important

  1. It honors the victims

    The International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances honors those who are compelled to disappear. Images and names are posted to pay tribute to those who have passed away.

  2. It raises awareness

    The day focuses on the hardships suffered by people who are arbitrarily arrested, detained, or kidnapped. It brings light to this global practice that continues worldwide, as well as its societal implications.

  3. It supports afflicted families

    It establishes a support network for families suffering from the untimely absence of a loved one. Personal stories are revealed, and consolation, no matter the extent, is provided.

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances dates

YearDateDay
2023August 30Wednesday
2024August 30Friday
2025August 30Saturday
2026August 30Sunday
2027August 30Monday

Want to sponsor this holiday?

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.