GENEVA (13 September 2019) – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will hold its 119th session in Geneva from 16 to 20 September 2019 to examine more than 530 cases from 36 countries.
The Group - composed of five independent human rights experts - will meet relatives of those who have disappeared, state authorities, civil society representatives and other stakeholders to exchange information on individual cases and on the persistent practice of enforced disappearances.
The experts will discuss a number of thematic issues, including its upcoming report on standards and public policies on the effective investigation of enforced disappearances, as well as the issue of disappearances committed by non-state actors.
The Working Group will, in addition, discuss internal matters and future activities, including its planned visits for 2019 and 2020. 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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