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2nd Annual meeting of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

Joint statement

GENEVA (8 November 2012) – The second annual meeting of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances took place in Geneva on Thursday, 1 November 2012.

During the meeting, the members of the two United Nations expert-bodies working on the issue of enforced disappearance exchanged information on their respective activities and discussed about the coordination of common initiatives. The Working Group and the Committee reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate and coordinate in the discharge or their respective mandates. They agreed on the principle of sharing information on a permanent basis. They held discussions on the complementarity of their procedures, on the interpretation of international law in the field of enforced disappearances, as well as on country visits. In addition, they fixed the agenda for their next annual meeting.

The two organs recalled that “the Working Group and the Committee have different mandates and act in a complementary and mutually reinforcing way to prevent and combat the heinous crime of enforced disappearance.”  “Coordination and coherence are essential to guarantee the effective protection of victims of enforced disappearances,” they emphasized. In this regard, they welcomed the recent opportunity given to the Chairpersons of the two bodies to jointly address the General Assembly during an interactive dialogue which allowed them to illustrate the synergies and common purposes of the Committee and the Working Group.

In the year marking the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the experts envisioned strategies to continue promoting and giving full effect to the Declaration as well as to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Experts also agreed on the need to work collectively for achieving universal adherence to the Convention and recognition of the competence of the Committee under articles 31 and 32.

ENDS

The Committee on enforced disappearances was established in 2011 following the entering into force of the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The Committee can be seized with requests that a disappeared person should be sought and found as a matter of urgency and can receive complaints from individuals who claim to be victims of violations of the rights protected by the Convention. The requests for urgent action may only be received if the enforced disappearance has occurred in a country that is a State Party to the Convention.

The complaints can be received from the date in which the State Party has recognized the competence of the Committee to do so. For more information on the Committee, please visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CED/Pages/CEDIndex.aspx

The Committee is comprised of ten independent experts from all regions of the world. The Chair of the Committee is Mr. Emmanuel Decaux (France), and other Expert-members are Mr. Mohammed Al-Obaidi (Iraq), Mr. Mamadou Badio Camara (Senegal), Mr. Alvaro Garcé García Y Santos (Uruguay), Mr. Luciano Hazan (Argentina), Mr. Rainer Huhle (Germany), Ms. Suela Janina (Albania), Mr. Juan José López Ortega (Spain), Mr. Enoch Mulembe (Zambia) and Mr. Kimio Yakushiji (Japan).

UN International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/disappearance-convention.htm

For more information and media requests on the Committee on enforced disappearances, please contact Maria Giovanna Bianchi (Tel: +41 22 917 9189 / email: mgbianchi@ohchr.org) or write to ced@ohchr.org

***

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, visit:
 http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Disappearances/Pages/DisappearancesIndex.aspx

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 Expert-Members are Mr. Ariel Dulitzky (Argentina), Ms. Jasminka Dzumhur (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Mr. Jeremy Sarkin (South Africa) and Mr. Osman El-Hajjé (Lebanon).

UN Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/disappearance.htm
For more information and media requests on the Working Group, please contact Ugo Cedrangolo (Tel.: +41 22 917 9286 / email: ucedrangolo@ohchr.org) or write to wgeid@ohchr.org