The enforced disappearance of persons violates a number of fundamental human rights and often serves to cover-up further rights violations. In Latin America thousands of oppositionists disappeared during the 1970's and 80's. Many victims subsequently faced torture and murder; in other cases the fate of the disappeared remains unknown. Similar reports of disappearances are currently emerging from places such as Sri Lanka and the Northern Caucasus.
In cases of enforced disappearance, the perpetrators include not only those who kidnap and detain the victim, but also those who withhold information from relatives relating to the victim's whereabouts. In an effort to address the multiplicity of fundamental human rights violations involved, the United Nations drew up the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in 2006, which was ratified by Germany on 24 September 2009.