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23 May 2006

A group of United Nations human rights experts begins today a nine-day official visit to Honduras at the invitation of the Government of the Central American republic.. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is mandated to investigate individual cases and systemic causes of arbitrary detention in all United Nations member States.

The visit will take the Working Group to the capital Tegucigalpa, to San Pedro Sula and to the Atlantic coast city La Ceiba. In each of the cities visited the Working Group will meet with police officials, judges, prosecutors, lawyers in public defender offices, and civil society groups. The Working Group will also visit different categories of detention facilities, including prisons, holding cells at police stations and centers for juvenile offenders and for illegal migrants. The Working Group will spend a substantial part of its visit in those centers interviewing detainees in private.

The Working Group delegation visiting Honduras is composed of its President, Leila Zerrougui, a judge in Algeria, and Manuela Carmena Castrillo, a Spanish judge. The Working Group will issue a report analyzing compliance by Honduras with international law in the area of deprivation of liberty and make recommendations on the prevention of arbitrary detention.

The Working Group is traveling to Honduras from Nicaragua, where it concluded an official visit. Other countries recently visited by the Group are China, Canada, South Africa and Ecuador.