2021 Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
At the 48th session of the HRC
In 2020, working in the exceptional circumstances of the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, under its regular procedure, adopted 92 opinions concerning the detention of 221 persons in 47 countries. It also transmitted 55 urgent appeals to 27 Governments as well as 150 letters of allegation and other letters to 62 Governments and, in two cases, to other actors, concerning at least 651 identified individuals. Some States informed the Working Group of the measures taken to remedy the situations of detainees and, in numerous cases, the detainees were released.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Working Group was not able to conduct country visits during the reporting period. It looks forward to resuming such visits as soon as the global health context allows and encourages States to respond positively to its requests for visits.
The Working Group continued to formulate deliberations on matters of a general nature to assist States and stakeholders in preventing and addressing cases of arbitrary detention. This included the development of deliberation No. 12 on women deprived of their liberty, which is annexed to the present report.
In the report, the Working Group also examines the following thematic issues: (a) deprivation of liberty of human rights defenders; (b) forcible transfers of individuals and prohibition of arbitrary detention; and (c) the Declaration against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations.