CALL FOR PAPERS: Enforced Disappearances


Call for papers

Special section of Torture Journal: Journal on Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and Prevention of Torture

Enforced Disappearances and Torture

Pau Pérez Sales - Editor-in-Chief, Torture Journal
Guest Editors: Mariana Castilla (Collective Against Torture and Impunity) and Bernard Duhaime (Université du Québec à Montréal, Member of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances)


Enforced disappearances imply multiple and continuous violations of various human rights, including the right to due process and judicial protection, the right to life, to personal integrity and to legal personality. In various regions of the world, this practice seeks to generate a state of anxiety, insecurity and fear in society. When committed as a systematic attack against the civilian population enforced disappearances also constitute a form of crime against humanity.

The UN General Assembly has indicated that “[a]ny act of enforced disappearance (…) constitutes a violation of the rules of international law guaranteeing, (…) the right not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” (art. 1.2, UNGA Res 47/133). Indeed, as reiterated by regional human rights tribunals, this type of detention of an individual can constitute a form of torture (ej. Inter-American Court, Santa Barbara Peasant Community v Peru). In addition, in many instances of disappearances, victims are the object of specific acts of torture with the objective of punishing, questioning or obtaining confessions from them.

Moreover, a State “cannot restrict the right to know the truth about the fate and the whereabouts of the disappeared as such restriction only adds to, and prolongs, the continuous torture inflicted upon the relatives” (A/HRC/16/48). Accordingly, in addition to the disappeared person, his or her relative can also be a victim of torture.

While this year marks the 40th anniversary of the creation of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the coming special edition of the Torture Journal seeks to explore further some of these issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. Indeed, additional academic contributions are required for example to better understand how impunity in this context can generate such violations, how the States actions or omissions can re-victimize relatives of disappeared persons, or how investigative methodology should take these factors into account.

Call for papers

Torture Journal encourages authors to present papers on this topic with a psychological, medical, social or legal orientation and, in particular, with interdisciplinary approaches with other fields of knowledge. We welcome papers on the following:

  • Interdisciplinary documentation on the harm caused to relatives of disappeared persons.
  • Analysis of cases of forced disappearance as a systematic and repeated phenomenon aimed at producing a social state of terror and anguish that generates serious damage to communities and social structures.
  • Strategic litigation of cases in which the harm to relatives of disappeared persons has been documented as a violation of the right to personal integrity
  • Rehabilitation programs for the damage generated by forced disappearance that develops specific approaches that address the characteristics of this particular damage.

Deadline for submissions

15th April, 2021.

For more information

Contact Pau Pérez-Sales, Editor in Chief ( or Berta Soley, Editorial Assistant (
For more general enquiries, please write to

Submission guidelines and links

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Author guidelines can be found here:

Read more about the Torture Journal here:

For general submission guidelines, please see the Torture Journal website (https://tidsskrift. dk/index.php/torture-journal/index). Papers will be selected on their relevance to the field, applicability, methodological rigor, and level of innovation.

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