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Enforced Disappearances: UN expert group to visit Libya and Spain in 2013

GENEVA (15 March 2013) – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances* will undertake two official visits to Libya and Spain in 2013. The visit to Libya is officially confirmed to take place from 8 to 17 May, and to Spain from 23 to 30 September 2013.

The announcement was made at the end of the expert group’s 99th session (11-15 March 2013) in Geneva, where the independent human rights experts examined, under their urgent action procedure, 10 reported cases of enforced disappearance that occurred in the last six months, as well as more than 300 cases, including newly-reported cases and updated information on previously accepted ones.

The cases examined concerned Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Colombia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kenya, Laos, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey and the State of Palestine.

During its session, the group of independent experts held discussions on how to make its methods of work more effective, topics for possible thematic studies, forthcoming and potential country visits, as well as future activities. The Working Group also reviewed responses from various Governments to prompt intervention letters, urgent appeals and general allegations.

The experts also reviewed allegations submitted by credible sources regarding obstacles encountered in the implementation of the Declaration related to issues ranging from lack of proper identification processes to inadequate investigations and reparations mechanisms.

In the context of the dialogue and cooperation with States, the experts held meetings with representatives of the Governments of Bahrain, Colombia, Japan, Sri Lanka and Sudan to exchange views on individual cases and on the issue of enforced disappearances in general. They also met with family members of disappeared persons and non-governmental organizations. Members of the Working Group also held informal bilateral meetings with States to exchange information with a view to enhancing cooperation.

The Working Group will hold its 100th session in New York from 15 to 19 July 2013. The experts hope that this opportunity will also serve to reflect together with States and other stakeholders on the achievements during these 100 sessions and the challenges that may lie ahead.

(*) 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 Vice-Chair Rapporteur is Mr. Osman El-Hajjé (Lebanon). The other members are Mr. Ariel Dulitzky (Argentina), Ms. Jasminka Dzumhur (Bosnia and Herzegovina), and Mr. Jeremy Sarkin (South Africa).

ENDS

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.

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 2012 report to the UN Human Rights Council: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session22/A.HRC.22.45_English.pdf

For more information and media requests, please contact Mr. Ugo Cedrangolo or Ms. Michelle Erazo (+41 22 917 9449 / wgeid@ohchr.org)