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UN experts panel to study over 500 cases of disappearances

26 November 2008

GENEVA -- The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) plans to review more than 500 cases of disappearances and recently submitted information on previously accepted cases from 34 countries during its 86th session, from 26 November to 4 December 2008.

During their last session of 2008, which will take place at the premises of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, the Working Group will hold meetings with a range of non-governmental organisations from around the world and with numerous governmental delegations to exchange views on individual cases under consideration and on the phenomenon of enforced disappearances.

The Working Group will also adopt its 2008 annual report during this session.

WGEID was established 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 WGEID’s humanitarian mandate, clarification occurs when the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person is clearly established.

The group of UN experts continues to address cases of disappearances until they are resolved.

The Working Group is comprised of five independent experts from all regions of the world. The Chairman-Rapporteur is Mr. Santiago Corcuera (Mexico), and the other Expert-Members are Mr. Olivier de Frouville (France), Mr. Darko Gottlicher (Croatia), Mr. Saied Rajaie Khorasani (Islamic Republic of Iran) and Mr. Jeremy J. Sarkin (South Africa).