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New Member of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

30 April 2008

GENEVA-- In March 2008, the Human Rights Council, with resolution 7/30, decided to continue the mandate of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances for a period of three years. The Working Group is composed by five independent experts from different regions. The Human Rights Council appointed Mr. Jeremy J. Sarkin as member of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. He takes up his new functions as 1 May.

The basic mandate of the Working Group is humanitarian in nature, aimed at assisting families in determining the fate and whereabouts of their missing relatives who, having disappeared, are placed outside the protection of the law. To this end, the Working Group endeavours to establish a channel of communication between the families and the Governments concerned, with a view to ensuring that sufficiently documented and clearly identified individual cases which families, directly or indirectly, have brought to the Group’s attention are investigated with a view to clarifying the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared persons. In addition to its original mandate, the Working Group has also been entrusted to monitor States’ compliance with their obligations deriving from the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and to provide to Governments assistance in its implementation.

Mr. Sarkin is a university professor and attorney from South Africa. He has been an Assessor for the Supreme Court of South Africa and a Supreme Court Judge in the Cape High Court. He has served as National Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee of South Africa. He is a Founder and Board Member of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in South Africa. He has extensively published books and articles on human rights issues.

Mr. Jeremy J. Sarkin succeeds Mr. Joel Adebayo Adekanye (Nigeria), who was member for this mandate since 2000.

For more information about the mandate of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, please consult the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/disappear/index.htm