50 states endorse casualty recording in joint statement to Human Rights Council

A joint statement promoting greater recognition and application of casualty recording was presented at the Human Rights Council on 22 September. The statement was endorsed by 50 states, initiated and led by a core group including Afghanistan, Costa Rica, Croatia, and Liechtenstein.

The statement recognises that casualty recording upholds universally shared human values, by preserving the dignity of the deceased. It also notes that casualty recording can and should be used to support the effective realisation of many fundamental human rights which are regularly addressed by the Council. These include the Right to Life, the Right to Know the Truth about the circumstances of loss of life and the Right to an Effective Remedy, including through ensuring access to relevant information. In this regard, the statement also notes that effective casualty recording directly complements efforts to account for missing persons in situations of armed violence and conflict. Casualty records can also provide valuable evidence in all forms of accountability, transitional justice, and reconciliation processes. The statement also highlights the relevance of casualty recording to various economic, social and cultural rights, including the Right to Own Property, the Right to Marry and Found a Family and the Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief.

The statement concludes by encouraging all relevant stakeholders to make use of casualty recording information where available, and inviting the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms, including the mandates of special procedures, commissions of inquiry, and fact-finding missions wherever relevant, to pay due attention to casualty recording within the scope of their respective mandates.

The full list of state signatories included Afghanistan, Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Fiji, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malta, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, State of Palestine, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay.