24 July 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 second of three annual sessions for 2006 from 24 to 28 July at the UN Offices in Geneva.
The Working Group will review 334 cases of enforced disappearances from 33 countries. An annual examination on country practices affecting enforced disappearances (general allegations) submitted by non-governmental organizations regarding countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and North and South America will also be reviewed.
Meetings will be held with NGOs and family members from Nepal and Argentina and with Government delegations.
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 Stephen J. Toope, the Vice-Chairman is J. Bayo Adekanye, and the other Expert-Members are Darko Gottlicher, Saied Rajaie Khorasani and Santiago Corcuera.
As defined in the 1992 Declaration, adopted by the General Assembly, enforced disappearances occur when persons are deprived of their liberty by State officials or by persons acting on behalf of, or with the support, consent or acquiescence of the Government, followed by a refusal to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the persons concerned, which places such persons outside the protection of the law. The Working Group is mandated by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to assist in the implementation of the Declaration and relevant international rules.
For more information on the WGEID, please refer to this web site: http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/disappear/index.htm