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UNITED NATIONS WORKING GROUP ON DISAPPEARANCES CONCLUDES EIGHTY-EIGHTH SESSION


29 June 2009

Following its mission to Morocco from 22 to 25 June 2009, on Sunday, the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances concluded its eighty-eighth session, held from 26 to 28 June 2009 in Rabat.

The Working Group reviewed a total of 200 cases of enforced disappearances, between newly submitted cases and updated information on previously accepted cases, from 35 countries, including Argentina, Algeria, Belarus, Bolivia, Colombia, Chad, Chile, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Congo, the Russian Federation, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Syria, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The Working Group examined 25 reported cases under its urgent action procedure.

In addition, the Working Group reviewed two general allegations, based on information from non-governmental organizations concerning obstacles reportedly encountered in the implementation of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

A meeting was also held with representatives of the Government of Japan to exchange views on enforced disappearances.

During the session, the Working Group elected Mr. Jeremy Sarkin as its next Chairman. Mr. Sarkin will take up his functions on 1 August 2009 for a two-year period.

The Working Group 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 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 (Mexico), and the other Expert Members are Olivier de Frouville (France), Darko Gottlicher (Croatia), Saied Rajaie Khorasani (Iran), and Jeremy Sarkin (South Africa).

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For use of information media; not an official record