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Statement at the conclusion of the 101st session of the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances

GENEVA (13 November 2013) – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances* will focus on enforced disappearance and economic, social and cultural rights in its next annual report to be presented in 2014.

The announcement was made at the end of the Working Group’s 101st session (4-13 November 2013) in Geneva, where an expert consultation on enforced disappearances and economic, social and cultural rights was held with participants from different regions of the world.

During the session, the expert body also examined under the urgent action procedure 16 reported cases of enforced disappearances that have 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 during the session concerned Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Belarus, Chile, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Dominican Republic, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Libya, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Yemen.  

During its session, the group of independent experts also focused on specific country situations, in particular regarding the obstacles encountered in the implementation of the Declaration, and discussed the Working Group’s methods of work, its post sessional document, the structure of the Working Group’s next annual report, past and potential country visits, as well as future activities.  

The expert panel held meetings with representatives of the Governments of Cyprus, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, to exchange views on individual cases and on the issue of enforced disappearance in general. The experts also met with family members of disappeared persons and non-governmental organizations and held informal bilateral meetings with States to exchange information with a view to enhancing cooperation.

The Working Group also met with Commissioners of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic and the Secretariat of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It also held its third annual meeting with the Committee on Enforced Disappearances to exchange information on their respective activities and discuss the coordination of common initiatives.
The 102nd Session of the Working Group is scheduled for 3 to 7 February 2014, in Geneva.

(*) The Working Group is comprised of five independent experts from all regions of the world. The Chair-Rapporteur is Mr. Ariel Dulitzky (Argentina) and the Vice-Chair is Mr. Osman El-Hajjé (Lebanon); other members are Mr. Olivier de Frouville (France), 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.

See the press release: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=13982&LangID=E

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

Read the Working Group’s post-sessional documents for 2013: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Disappearances/Pages/Annual.aspx
For more information and media requests, please contact Mr. Ugo Cedrangolo or Ms. Michelle Erazo (wgeid@ohchr.org)