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UN Working Group to discuss hundreds of cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances

10 March 2009

GENEVA -- The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances plans to review 326 newly submitted cases of enforced disappearances as well as recently submitted information on previously accepted cases from 32 countries during the first of three annual sessions from 9 to 13 March 2009.

During its 87th session -- which will take place at the premises of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva -- the Working Group will hold meetings with Government delegations and civil society representatives to exchange views on individual cases under consideration and on the phenomenon of enforced disappearances.

The Working Group will also render its 2008 annual report at the 10th Session of the Human Rights Council, and will participate in the inter-active dialogue.

The Working Group was created by the UN 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 made up 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 WGEID, please refer to the web site: http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/disappear/index.htm or call +41 22 917 9189