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Statement at the conclusion of the 102nd session of the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances

GENEVA (7 February 2014) – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances* examined under its urgent action procedure 8 reported cases of enforced disappearances that have occurred in the last three months as well as more than 600 cases, including newly-reported cases and updated information on previously accepted ones.

The cases examined concerned Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Chile, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Guinea, Kenya, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Spain, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

During its session, the five independent experts adopted the revised methods of work of the Working Group, to make their work more efficient and effective.

The group of independent experts also focused on specific country situations, in particular regarding the obstacles encountered in the implementation of the Declaration. Members discussed their forthcoming and potential country visits, as well as future activities. The Working Group also reviewed responses from various Governments to prompt intervention letters and urgent appeals.

The expert panel held meetings with representatives of the Governments of Angola, Japan, Morocco and Togo, and held informal bilateral meetings with other States 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. The Working Group also met with the Deputy High Commissioner.

The Working Group will hold its 103rd session in Geneva from 7 to 16 May 2014.

(*) 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.

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://www.ohchr.org/Documents/issues/Disappearances/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 (wgeid@ohchr.org)