GENEVA (10 February 2020) – The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will hold its 120th session in Geneva from 10 to 14 February 2020 to examine more than 530 cases from 32 countries.
The five independent experts will meet relatives of forcibly disappeared people, 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 also examine allegations received regarding obstacles encountered in the implementation of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, such as regressive legislation and practices, or systemic failures in addressing cases of enforced disappearance.
Issues such as disappearances perpetrated by non-state actors as well as enforced disappearances occurring in the context of state-sponsored extraterritorial operations will also be discussed.
As the Group is marking its 40th anniversary, it will organize a public session on Friday 14 February 2020 in Palais des Nations room IX at 11 a.m. to launch a series of audiovisual tools to help relatives and other stakeholders have a good understanding of its work and facilitate access to the mechanism.
A press conference will also be held on Friday 14 February at 1 p.m. in press room 3, Palais des Nations, Geneva.
The rest of the session of the Working Group is held in private.
The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearancesis comprised of five independent experts from all regions of the world. The Chair-Rapporteur is Mr. Luciano Hazan (Argentina) and the Vice-Chair is Mr. Tae-Ung Baik (Republic of Korea); other members are Ms. Houria Es-Slami (Morocco); Mr. Bernard Duhaime (Canada) 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 Proceduresof 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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