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Enforced Disappearances: UN expert body to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina

GENEVA (11 June 2010) – The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances* will visit Bosnia and Herzegovina from 14 to 21 June 2010, to learn about the country’s efforts in addressing cases of enforced disappearances occurred in the past. The fact-finding mission will be undertaken at the invitation of the Government.

During the eight-day visit, the group of independent experts will look into lessons learned and good practices in dealing with the investigation of past cases of enforced disappearances, the fight against impunity, and other issues including matters concerning truth, justice and reparations for victims.

In order to gather first-hand information, the Working Group plans to meet with Government officials at the national, entity and local levels, civil society organizations, relatives of disappeared people, and representatives of UN agencies and international organizations.

The fact-finding mission will be carried out by the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group, Jeremy Sarkin (South Africa), and one of its members, Olivier de Frouville (France). A final report on the visit will be presented to the Human Rights Council in 2011.

At the end of the visit, on 21 June 2010, the Working Group will hold a press conference at the UNDP premises in Sarajevo (Maršala Tita 48).

Working Group’s 91st session in Sarajevo

Also upon invitation of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Working Group will hold its 91st session in Sarajevo, from 22 to 25 June 2010. During the session it will review 170 newly submitted cases of enforced disappearances and recently submitted information on previously accepted cases from 26 countries.

The experts will hold meetings with Government delegations and civil society representatives to exchange views on individual cases under consideration and on the occurrence of enforced disappearances in general.

The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances was established by the then UN Commission on Human Rights in 1980 to assist families in determining the fate or whereabouts of their disappeared relatives. It 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 fate or whereabouts of the persons reported disappeared. The Working Group continues to address cases of disappearances until they are resolved. The Working Group also provides assistance in the implementation by States of the United Nations Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

(*) The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances is comprised of five independent experts from all regions of the world. The Chair-Rapporteur is Jeremy Sarkin (South Africa), and the other Members are Santiago Corcuera (Mexico), Jasminka Dzumhur (Bosnia and Herzogovina), Olivier de Frouville (France) and Osman El-Hajjé (Lebanon).

OHCHR Country Page – Bosnia and Herzegovina: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/BAIndex.aspx