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26 June 2009

RABAT -- The UN Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances meets for its 88th session from 26 to 28 June in Morocco, the first African country or Arab State to host the five-member expert panel.

This is the group’s first-ever gathering in Morocco, a country addressing its history of the practice of enforced disappearances. The session also follows the conclusion of a country visit by the Working Group, aimed at taking stock of Morocco's efforts in addressing its cases of disappearances.

During the session in Rabat, the Working Group is to review 200 cases of enforced disappearances from around the world as well as review past cases from 35 countries for which the Working Group has recently received further information.

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. Since its inception the Working Group has dealt with 52,952 cases transmitted to it. 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 comprised of five independent experts from all regions of the world. The Chairman-Rapporteur is Santiago Corcuera and the other Expert-Members are Darko Gottlicher, Olivier de Frouville, Saied Rajaie Khorasani and Jeremy Sarkin.

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


For use of information media; not an official record