GENEVA (1st November 2012) – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances* started reviewing more than 400 cases of enforced disappearances. These include a number of cases under its urgent action procedure and information on newly-submitted cases, previously accepted ones and other communications concerning over 30 countries.
The independent experts will meet with Government delegations and civil society representatives, including family members of those who have disappeared, to exchange information and views on individual cases under consideration and on the phenomenon of enforced disappearances in general. The Working Group will also meet with the Committee on Enforced Disappearances.
The Working Group will, in addition, examine allegations received regarding obstacles encountered in the implementation of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The members will hold discussions on two draft general comments in relation to women and children respectively, its methods of work, and forthcoming and potential country visits. The human rights experts will also discuss and adopt its annual report.
The current Working Group’s 98th session is taking place from 31 October to 9 November in room IX of the Palais des Nations, in Geneva. All meetings are held in private. A press release will be issued at the end of the session, on 9 November 2012.
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 are 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. Olivier de Frouville (France) and the other members are Mr. Ariel Dulitzky (Argentina), Ms. Jasminka Dzumhur (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Mr. Osman El-Hajjé (Lebanon), and Mr. Jeremy Sarkin (South Africa).
For more information on the Working Group, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Disappearances/Pages/DisappearancesIndex.aspx
How to submit cases to the Working Group?: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/disappear/docs/Communication_form_E.doc
Read the Working Group’s 2011 report to the UN Human Rights Council: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session19/A-HRC-19-58-Rev1_en.pdf
For more information and media requests, please contact Mr. Ugo Cedrangolo or Ms. Michelle Erazo (firstname.lastname@example.org)