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29 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 has concluded its 80th session, which was held from 20 to 29 November 2006 at the UN Offices in Geneva.

The Working Group reviewed 570 cases of enforced disappearances from 29 countries. Meetings were held with NGOs and family members and with the Governments of Japan and Kuwait to exchange views on individual cases and on the phenomenon of enforced disappearances.

During this session, the Working Group finalized and approved their annual report. It includes chapters on 80 countries, presenting all cases of disappearance currently under consideration and contains the Working Group’s main concerns and observations.

The next session of the Working Group will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in March 2007, immediately followed by a mission to that country. This will be the first time the Working Group has met in Latin America for many years.

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 WGEID, please refer to the web site: http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/disappear/index.htm

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For use of the information media; not an official record