Disappearances - an introduction

Disappearance” or “enforced disappearance” is:

  • the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State;

  • followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the “disappeared” person.

The practice places the “disappeared” person outside the protection of the law.  Companies have been accused of being complicit in “disappearances” by providing information or other logistical support facilitating the actions of the State.

Below are select introductory materials on business and “disappearances”.  Further reports from a wide range of sources are in the “Disappearances” section of our site.


Key reports & guidance

The Past and Present of Corporate Complicity: Financing the Argentinian Dictatorship, Juan Pablo Bahoslavsky & Veerle Opgenhaffen, Nov 2010.

Report of the Expert Legal Panel on Corporate Complicity in International Crimes, International Commission of Jurists, 2006 [includes references to corporate complicity in “disappearances”].


Concerns, company responses & non-responses

Below we give examples of concerns regarding companies and “disappearances”.  In cases where the Resource Centre has invited companies to respond to allegations of misconduct, we indicate whether the company has responded.

Argentina: Ford statement regarding legal claims brought by former employees who say they were kidnapped and tortured on Ford Argentina premises during the 1976-83 military dictatorship, Mar 2007.

Argentina: Ledesma accused of complicity with detention, torture & “disappearance” of over 400 people by dictatorship’s security forces in 1976, Jul 2006.  Ledesma response. [Spanish only]

Argentina: Human rights activists say court ruling requiring Siderca (subsidiary of Techint) to compensate relatives of worker who was “disappeared” in 1977 is an "important precedent", Apr 2007. [Spanish only]

USA: Amnesty Intl. report gives details of private airlines & front companies allegedly involved in practice of rendition - transferring people by means that bypass judicial & administrative due process, to countries where they are held in secret & can face torture, ill-treatment, “disappearance”, Apr 2006.

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