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Arbitrary Detention: UN expert panel to discuss more than 20 cases from 20 countries

GENEVA (26 April 2013) – The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention* will discuss more than 20 confidential cases concerning 20 different countries, from 29 April to 3 May 2013. It will also review information relating to these cases which include communications from States.

During its 66th session, the group of human rights experts will also meet with representatives from States and civil society organizations to discuss various issues relating to deprivation of liberty.

“We will also proceed with the preparations concerning the draft basic principles and guidelines on the right of anyone deprived of his or her liberty to bring proceedings before a court in order to challenge the legality of the detention,” said El Hadji Malick Sow, who currently heads the expert body.

In July 2012, the UN Human Rights Council assigned the Working Group the task of drafting basic principles and guidelines aimed at assisting Member States in fulfilling their obligation to avoid arbitrary deprivation of liberty. A report comprising the basic principles and guidelines will be presented to the Human Rights Council in 2015.

Last year, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention adopted 69 Opinions concerning 198 persons in 37 States. It also transmitted 104 urgent appeals to 44 Governments concerning 606 individuals, including 56 women. Governments and sources reported that 21 persons were released. In other cases, the Working Group was assured that the detainees concerned would be guaranteed a fair trial.

The Working Group was established by the former Commission on Human Rights in 1991 to investigate instances of alleged arbitrary deprivation of liberty. Its mandate was clarified and extended by the Commission to cover the issue of administrative custody of asylum-seekers and immigrants. In 2010, the Human Rights Council confirmed the scope of the Working Group's mandate and extended it for a further three-year period. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Detention/Pages/WGADIndex.aspx

(*) The Working Group is comprised of five independent expert members from various regions of the world. The Chair-Rapporteur is Mr. El Hadji Malick Sow (Senegal) and the Vice-Chair is Ms. Shaheen Sardar Ali (Pakistan). Other members include Mr. Mads Andenas (Norway), Mr. Roberto Garretón (Chile) and Mr. Vladimir Tochilovsky (Ukraine).

Check the Working Group’s data base: http://www.unwgaddatabase.org/un/

For more information and media requests please contact Ms. Jolene Tautakitaki (+41 22 917 9363 / jtautakitaki@ohchr.org) or write to wgad@ohchr.org

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

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