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Enforced disappearances: UN expert panel to study over 400 cases from almost 40 countries

GENEVA (1 November 2011) – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances* has started reviewing more than 400 cases of enforced disappearances, including recently submitted information on previously accepted cases, and other communications concerning almost 40 countries.

The independent experts will hold meetings with Government delegations and civil society representatives, as well as with relatives of disappeared persons, to exchange views on individual cases under consideration and on the phenomenon of enforced disappearances in general.

The Working Group will also examine allegations submitted by sources regarding obstacles encountered in the implementation of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and it will hold discussions on two general comments, its methods of work as well as on past and potential country visits. In addition, it will adopt its annual report, which will be presented to the Human Rights Council at its 19th session (March 2012).

The Working Group’s 95th session is taking place from 1-11 November, at the United Nations Office in Geneva.

The Working Group was established by the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1980 to assist families in determining the fate and whereabouts of disappeared relatives. It endeavours to establish a channel of communication between the families and the Governments concerned, to ensure that individual cases are investigated, with the objective of clarifying the whereabouts of persons who, having disappeared, are placed outside the protection of the law. In view of the Working Group's humanitarian mandate, clarification occurs when the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person is clearly established.

The Working Group continues to address cases of disappearances until they are resolved. It also provides assistance in the implementation by States of the United Nations Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

(*) The Working Group is comprised of five independent experts from all regions of the world. The Chair-Rapporteur is Mr. Jeremy Sarkin (South Africa), the Vice-Chair is Mr. Olivier de Frouville (France) and the other members are Mr. Ariel Dulitzky (Argentina), Ms. Jasminka Dzumhur (Bosnia and Herzegovina), and Mr. Osman El-Hajjé (Lebanon).

For more information on the Working Group, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/disappear/index.htm

How to submit cases to the Working Group? http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/disappear/docs/Communication_form_E.doc

For more information and media requests:
Ms. Maria Giovanna Bianchi (+ 41 22 917 9189 / mgbianchi@ohchr.org)
Mr. Matías Pellado (+41 22 917 9336/ mpellado@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, OHCHR Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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