GENEVA (4 May 2017) – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will meet in Geneva from 8 to 17 May to examine more than 600 cases of disappearances from 29 countries.
During its 112th session, the Group of five independent human rights experts* will also meet relatives of those who have disappeared, civil society representatives and State authorities from different countries to exchange information on individual cases and the situation of this heinous crime.
The expert panel will discuss, among other issues, the problem of enforced disappearances in the context of migration, which will be the topic of a thematic report to be presented to the Human Rights Council in September 2017.
The Working Group will also adopt during the session its annual report as well as the report related to the country visit to Albania, which took place in December 2016. It will also discuss the follow-up reports to the recommendations made upon the visits to Chile (2012) and Spain (2013).
In addition, the group of experts will examine general allegations received regarding obstacles encountered in the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Protection of All Persons From Enforced Disappearance.
The Working Group’s 112th session is held in private.
(*) The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances is comprised of five independent experts from all regions of the world. The Chair-Rapporteur is Ms. Houria Es-Slami (Morocco) and the Vice-Chair is Mr. Bernard Duhaime (Canada); other members are Mr. Tae-Ung Baik (Republic of Korea), Mr. Luciano Hazan (Argentina) and Mr. Henrikas Mickevicius (Lithuania).
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. It also provides assistance in the implementation by States of the UN Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
The Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.
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