This article considers the approaches taken by the Inter-American and European human rights courts in establishing that the rights of relatives of those forcibly disappeared had been violated. The two courts have proceeded on the basis that such acts may themselves constitute a violation of the right not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment as protected by the respective human rights conventions. However, to establish that a relative’s rights have been violated, the courts have identified a number of key elements which must be present. These include the existence of a relationship between the primary victim and the relative, the efforts the relative made to search for the victim and the State’s response to such efforts. This article therefore examines and compares the approach taken by the two courts, highlighting similarities and differences which can be said to exist between the two.