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Enforced Disappearances: UN experts study over 200 cases – 13 under their urgent action procedure

GENEVA (13 July 2012) – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances* examined 13 reported cases of enforced disappearance under its urgent action procedure, as well as information on more than 200 cases, including newly-submitted cases and previously accepted ones.

The five independent human rights experts studied cases, including urgent actions, concerning Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Georgia, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Libya, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Pakistan, Peru, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Yemen.

During its 97th session, which took place in Geneva from 9 to 13 July 2012, the Working Group also reviewed responses from various Governments to prompt intervention letters, urgent appeals and general allegations.

The expert panel held meetings with representatives of the Governments of Algeria, Japan and the Republic of Korea to exchange views on individual cases and on the issue of enforced disappearance in general. It also met with non-governmental organizations and family members of disappeared persons. Members of the Working Group also held informal bilateral meetings with States to exchange information with a view to enhancing cooperation. Finally, in the context of the session, the Working Group’s official mission to Pakistan was confirmed for September 2012.

In the session, the Working Group discussed two draft general comments on the provisions of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance with regard to the impact of enforced disappearance on women and children.

The experts also examined allegations submitted by credible sources regarding obstacles encountered in the implementation of the Declaration and held discussions on methods of work, past and potential country visits, as well as future activities.

The 98th Session of the Working Group is scheduled for 31 October to 9 November 2012 in Geneva.

(*) The Working Group is comprised of five independent experts from all regions of the world. The Chair-Rapporteur is Mr. Olivier de Frouville (France) and the other members are Mr. Ariel Dulitzky (Argentina), Ms. Jasminka Dzumhur (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Mr. Osman El-Hajjé (Lebanon), and Mr. Jeremy Sarkin (South Africa).

ENDS

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

For more information on the Working Group, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/disappear/index.htm

How to submit cases to the Working Group?: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/disappear/docs/Communication_form_E.doc

For more information and media requests: WGEID Secretariat (+41 22 917 9449 / wgeid@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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