GENEVA (5 June 2020) –The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention held its 87th session from 27 April 2020 to 1 May 2020.
The meeting which was held virtually on an exceptional basis, allowed the Working Group to continue considering and adopting individual cases, in accordance with its mandate, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the session, the Working Group adopted 35 opinions concerning deprivation of liberty in 26 countries. The advance edited versions of the opinions will be made available on the website of the Working Group.
The Working Group has a mandate to investigate allegations of individuals being deprived of their liberty in an arbitrary way or inconsistently with international human rights standards, and to recommend remedies such as release from detention and compensation, when appropriate.
During the session, the Working Group adopted its annual report for 2019 and considered two country reports.
The expert group also issued Deliberation No. 10, which identifies comprehensive reparations to which victims of arbitrary deprivation of liberty are entitled.
In its Deliberation No. 11, the group establishes a set of guidelines to prevent arbitrary deprivation of liberty during public health emergencies.
The Working Group elected Ms. Leigh Toomey (Australia) as its Chair-Rapporteur and Ms. Elina Steinerte (Latvia) as Vice-Chair.
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is comprised of five independent expert members from around the world: Ms. Leigh Toomey (Australia), Chair-Rapporteur, Ms. Elina Steinerte (Latvia), Mr. José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez (México), Mr. Seong-Phil Hong (Republic of Korea), and Mr. Sètondji Roland Adjovi (Benin).
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 that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures' experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
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