GENEVA (7 September 2018) – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will hold its 116th session in Geneva from 10 to 14 September 2018 to examine 840 cases from 46 countries.
The Working Group’s session will coincide with the first week of the Human Rights Council’s 39th session, during which the Working Group will present on 12th September its annual report to the Council as well as the reports on the Working Group’s visit to the Gambia and the follow-up reports on the recommendations made by the Working Group upon past visits to the Western Balkans.
On 10 September, the Working Group will hold an expert consultation on “standards and public policies for an effective investigation of enforced disappearances”, in order to inform its next thematic report to the Council.
The Group - composed of five independent human rights experts - will also meet relatives of those who have disappeared, State authorities from different countries, civil society representatives and other stakeholders to exchange information on individual cases and on the persistent trend of the phenomenon of enforced disappearances.
The Working Group will, in addition, discuss internal matters and future activities, including its planned visits. The experts will also examine allegations received regarding obstacles encountered in the implementation of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
The Working Group’s meetings are 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 Mr. Bernard Duhaime (Canada) and the Vice-Chair is Mr. Tae-Ung Baik (Republic of Korea); other members are Ms. Houria Es-Slami (Morocco); Mr. Luciano Hazan (Argentina) and Mr. Henrikas Mickevicius (Lithuania).
The Working Group was established by the then 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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