In at least 80 countries around the world, tens of thousands of individuals have been disappeared in contexts of conflict or repression. These enforced disappearances are typically used to eliminate political opponents in secrecy, without witnesses, survivors, or physical evidence. Relatives and targeted communities are left in fear and uncertainty, risking abuses themselves when they search for the truth about the fate of their missing loved ones. The 2006 International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance identifies both the disappeared and their family members as victims of enforced disappearance. This has important consequences for women, who comprise the minority of the disappeared, but the majority of family members who suffer exacerbated
social, economic, and psychological disadvantages as a result of the loss of a male family member who is often a breadwinner.