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WORKING GROUP ON ARBITRARY DETENTION TO VISIT NORWAY



20 April

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will visit Norway from 23 April to 2 May 2007 at the invitation of the Government. The Group will hold interviews with detainees in several prisons, preventive detention centres, police stations and psychiatric hospitals in the cities of Oslo, Stavanger and Tromso.

The Working Group will also meet with several authorities of the Executive Power, including senior officials of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Labour and Social Inclusion, Justice, Health and Care Services and authorities of the Norwegian Police and of the Directorate of Immigration; members of the Norwegian Parliament; magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice; judges of different levels; public prosecution officials and defense lawyers. Meetings are also scheduled with academics, civil society representatives and members of non-governmental organizations.

The delegation will be headed by Leïla Zerrougui, the Working Group's Chairperson-Rapporteur, and will include Manuela Carmena Castrillo, member of the Group, as well as members of the Working Group’s Secretariat.

The former Commission on Human Rights established the Working Group in 1991 to investigate allegations of arbitrary deprivation of liberty. Its mandate was extended in 1997 to cover the issue of administrative custody of asylum-seekers and immigrants. The mandate of the Working Group was assumed by the Human Rights Council through its decision 2006/102. The Working Group has carried out fact-finding missions to Argentina, Bahrain, Belarus, Bhutan, Canada, China, Ecuador, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Latvia, Mexico, Nepal, Nicaragua, Peru, South Africa, Turkey and Viet Nam. Concerning the issue of immigrants and asylum seekers, it has visited Australia, Romania and the United Kingdom.

The Working Group is composed of five independent experts appointed according to criteria governing equitable geographical distribution. In addition to Ms. Zerrougui (Algeria) and Ms. Carmena (Spain), it is also composed of the following members: Ms. Soledad Villagra de Biedermann (Paraguay); Mr. Tamás Bán (Hungary), the Working Group's Vice-Chairman, and Mr. Seyyed Mohammad Hashemi (Iran).

For further information on the Working Group's mandate, please consult OHCHR's Fact Sheet N° 26: The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention http://www.ohchr.org/english/about/publications/docs/fs26.htm)