Geneva, 14 September: The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will visit the Republic of Angola from 17 to 27 September 2007 at the invitation of the Government. The Group will conduct interviews with detainees in several prisons, police stations, and immigration and military detention facilities in the capital Luanda, the cities of Cabinda in the Province of Cabinda and Dundo in the Province of Lunda Norte. The Working Group will also visit a pychiatric hospital in Luanda.
The Working Group is expected to meet with senior officials of the executive, judicial and legislative branches including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Defence, the President of the Supreme Court, and the Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee of the National Assembly. The Group would also meet with the Prosecutor General and with other high-ranking officials responsible for the administration of criminal justice, the police, correctional services, immigration matters and national security. Meetings are also scheduled with authorities in the provinces as well as with civil society representatives, the President of the Angolan Bar Association and the Angolan Ombudsman (Provedor de Justiça).
The delegation will be headed by the Working Group's Chairperson Rapporteur Ms. Leïla Zerrougui (Algeria) and accompanied by its member Mr. Seyed Mohammad Hashemi (Islamic Republic of Iran), members of the Working Group's Secretariat, and two interpreters.
The visit to Angola will be the third fact-finding mission of the Working Group to an African country. The Group visited the Republic of South Africa in 2005 and concluded a mission to Equatorial Guinea in July 2007.
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 and resolution A/HRC/RES/5/1.
The Working Group is composed of five independent experts appointed according to criteria governing equitable geographical distribution. In addition to Ms. Zerrougui and Mr. Hashemi, it is composed of Mr. Tamás Bán (Hungary), the Working Group's Vice-Chairman, Ms. Soledad Villagra de Biedermann (Paraguay), and Ms. Manuela Carmena Castrillo (Spain).
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)