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UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to visit Malta

16 January 2009

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will visit the Republic of Malta from 19 to 23 January 2009 at the invitation of the Government. The Group will visit several detention facilities, where it will conduct interviews with detainees, and meet with Government authorities, members of non-governmental organizations as well as representatives of United Nations agencies and international organizations.

The Working Group is expected to meet with high level authorities from the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of Government to study the institutional and legal framework regarding deprivation of liberty in the country. Meetings would be held with Ministers, Justices from the Constitutional Court and from criminal courts, the Attorney-General, public prosecutors, police and military commanders, correctional services authorities, and representatives of the bar association and of several monitoring bodies such as the Ombudsperson.

The Working Group intends to visit various correctional institutions; penitentiaries; prisons; immigration holding facilities; psychiatric hospitals; a substance abuse therapeutic unit; military detention facilities; and police stations. A report on the mission will be considered by the Working Group at its 54th session to be held in May 2009 in Geneva.

A press conference on the initial findings of the Working Group will be held on Friday, 23 January, at the Palace Hotel in Sliema.

The delegation will be headed by Manuela Carmena Castrillo (Spain), the Working Group’s Chairperson-Rapporteur, and will include Malick El Hadji Sow (Senegal), the Vice-Chairman, as well as members of its Geneva-based Secretariat.

The former Commission on Human Rights established the five-member Working Group in 1991 to investigate allegations of arbitrary deprivation of liberty. Its mandate was extended in 1997 to cover the issue of administrative custody of immigrants and asylum-seekers. The other three members are Ms. Shaheen Sardar Ali (Pakistan); Mr. Roberto Garretón (Chile); and Mr. Aslan Abashidze (Russian Federation).

For further information on the Working Group, please visit the following webpage: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/detention/index.ht

For inquiries and media requests: nschultz@ohchr.org
or consult http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FactSheet26en.pdf