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20 November 2006

The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances issued the following statement today:

The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances is holding its 80th session from 20 to 29 November 2006 at the UN Office in Geneva.

The Working Group plans to review 570 cases of enforced disappearances from 29 countries. Meetings will be held with non-governmental organizations and family members and with Government delegations to exchange views on individual cases and on the phenomenon of enforced disappearances.

The Working Group was created by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1980 to assist families in determining the fate and whereabouts of disappeared relatives. The Working Group 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 is clearly established. The Working Group continues to address cases of disappearances until they are resolved.

The Working Group is made up of five independent experts from all regions of the world. The Chairman-Rapporteur is Santiago Corcuera, and the other Expert-Members are J. Bayo Adekanye, Darko Gottlicher, Saied Rajaie Khorasani and Stephen J. Toope.

For more information on the Working Group, please refer to the web site: http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/disappear/index.htm

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