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Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances concludes its 113th session

Geneva, 18 September 2017

The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) concluded its 113th session held between 11 and 15 September 2017.

The Working Group examined under its urgent action procedure 91 reported cases of enforced disappearances that have occurred in the last few months, concerning Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Pakistan Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey and Yemen- as well as 288 cases, including newly-reported cases outside the urgent action procedure and updated information on previously accepted ones.

Other countries whose cases were examined during the session are: Argentina, Algeria, Bhutan, Burundi, Ecuador, The Gambia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Oman, Peru, South Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, United States, Venezuela and Vietnam.

The Working Group also reviewed responses from various Governments to prompt intervention letters, general allegations and urgent appeals. It also adopted new general allegations. Members also discussed their forthcoming and potential country visits, including its next visits to Sudan (November 2017) and Ukraine (June 2018).

The experts met with family members of disappeared persons and non-governmental organizations. They also held meetings with representatives of the Governments of Argentina, China, Japan, Portugal and Vietnam.

On 12 September, the Working Group had its annual joint meeting with the Committee on enforced disappearances with a view to continue their close collaboration to strengthen their efforts to prevent and eradicate enforced disappearances in accordance with their respective mandates. The members exchanged information on respective activities and discussed thematic issues, parallel procedures and common initiatives.

During the session, on 11 September, the Working Group also presented its annual report and addenda to the Human Rights Council, including its new thematic report on enforced disappearances in the context of migration: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22047&LangID=E

On 15 September, the Working Group issued a press release expressing its dismay at the arrest of lawyer and human rights defender Ebrahim Metwally, who was arrested at Cairo airport on 10 September while boarding a plane to Geneva, where he was supposed to meet the Working Group to discuss the case of his disappeared son as well as other cases of enforced disappearances in Egypt:

The Group also appointed Bernard Duhaime as new Chair-Rapporteur and Tae-Ung Baik as Vice-Chair.

The Working Group will hold its 114th session in Brussels, from 5 to 9 February 2018.

(*) Check the Declaration:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/EnforcedDisappearance.aspx


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 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 continues to address cases of disappearances until they are resolved. The Working Group also provides assistance in the implementation by States of the United Nations Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

For more information on the Working Group, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Disappearances/Pages/DisappearancesIndex.aspx

How to submit cases to the Working Group?: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/issues/Disappearances/Communication_form_E.doc

Read the Working Group’s 2015 report to the UN Human Rights Council and post-sessional documents http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Disappearances/Pages/Annual.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Mr. Ugo Cedrangolo (+41 22 9179286, ucedrangolo@ohchr.org or wgeid@ohchr.org).