20 (XXXVI) of 29 February 1980, the Commission on Human Rights decided to "establish for a period of one year a working group consisting of five of its members, to serve as experts in their individual capacities, to examine questions relevant to enforced or involuntary disappearances of persons".
The last resolution renewing the mandate of the Working Group,
A/HRC/RES/27/1, was adopted by the Human Rights Council in September 2014.
One of the Working Group's primary task is to assist families in determining the fate or whereabouts of their family members who are reportedly disappeared. In that humanitarian capacity, the Working Group serves as a channel of communication between family members of victims of enforced disappearance and other sources reporting cases of disappearances, and the Governments concerned. For this purpose the Group receives, examines and transmits to Governments reports of enforced disappearances submitted by relatives of disappeared persons or human rights organizations acting on their behalf. The Working Group request Governments to carry out investigations and to inform the Working Group of the results. The Working Group follows up those requests of information on a periodic basis. Those cases remain open in the Working Group’s database until the fate or whereabouts of the person is determined.
With the adoption by the General Assembly in 1992 of the
Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances, the Working Group was also entrusted with monitoring the progress of States in fulfilling their obligations deriving from the Declaration and to provide to Governments assistance in its implementation. The Working Group draws the attention of Governments and non-governmental organizations to different aspects of the Declaration and recommends ways of overcoming obstacles to the realization of its provisions. In this capacity, the Working Group has a preventive role, by assisting States in overcoming obstacles to the realization of the Declaration. This is done both while carrying out
country visits and by providing advisory services, when requested.
On 23 December 2010, the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances entered into force and with it the
Committee on Enforced Disappearances was established. Like for a number of other thematic human rights issues, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances coexist side by side and seek to collaborate and coordinate their activities with a view to strengthen the joint efforts to prevent and eradicate enforced disappearances.
An enforced disappearance is defined by three cumulative
(1) Deprivation of liberty against the will of the person;
(2) Involvement of government officials, at least by acquiescence;
(3) Refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person.
Latest reports - 2017
Report of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances
E F R S C A
Report of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances in the context of migration
E F R S C A
Follow-up report to the recommendations made by the Working Group - Missions to Chile and Spain
E F R S C A
More reports of the Working Group
Latest country visits
Visit of the Working Group to the Gambia-
See press release
See more country visits reports