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Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances concludes its 125th session

Geneva, 30 September 2021

The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) concluded its 125th session, which took place between 20 and 29 September in Geneva, Switzerland.

During the session, the Working Group examined 13 reported cases of enforced disappearances it had transmitted under its urgent action procedure since 21 May 2021, concerning Bangladesh, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Venezuela. 

It also reviewed 429 cases, including newly reported cases outside the urgent action procedure and updated information on previously transmitted cases concerning Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon, China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Lao PDR, Libya, Maldives, Malaysia, Mexico, Mozambique, Oman, Pakistan, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Yemen.

The Working Group also reviewed responses from various Governments to prompt intervention letters, general allegations and urgent appeals. It adopted new general allegations, discussed its future and potential country visits, and held preliminary discussions on a number of projects, including a new thematic report on new technologies and enforced disappearances  and a stocktaking study to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1992 Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. 

In the spirit of its humanitarian mandate, the Working Group continued to document and discuss acts tantamount to enforced disappearances perpetrated by non-state actors. In this context, the Working Group decided to transmit three cases to the de facto authorities in Sana'a, and clarified one case registered under Libyan National Army based on the information submitted by sources.

The experts also met with relatives of disappeared persons, non-governmental organizations, State representatives and other stakeholders. The Working Group also held a joint meeting with the Committee on Enforced Disappearances.

The session coincided with the presentation of the Working Group’s annual report to the 48th session of the Human Rights Council as well as a follow-up report to the recommendations made during a past made during past visits to Albania and the Gambia. On Friday 24 September, the Working Group held a public event focusing on thematic section of the annual report “enforced disappearances in the context of transnational transfers”, with the participation of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism and the International Commission of Jurists.

During the session, Mr. Luciano Hazan (Argentina) was elected as the new Chair Rapporteur of the Working Group, and Ms. Aua Balde (Guinea-Bissau) as the Vice-Chair.

The Working Group will hold its 126th session from 7-11 February 2022.

ENDS

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. Luciano Hazan (Argentina); and the Vice-Chair is Ms. Aua Balde (Guinea-Bissau). Other members are Ms. Gabriella Citroni (Italy), Mr. Henrikas Mickevicius (Lithuania) and Mr. Tae-Ung Baik (Republic of Korea). 

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. More information on the Working Group

Watch and learn more about the history of the Working Group, and on how to submit a case to the Working Group.

Read the eight Key Guidelines on COVID – 19 and Enforced Disappearances, issued by the Working Group jointly with the Committee on Enforced Disappearances.

Read the Working Group's 2021 report to the UN Human Rights Council and post-sessional documents

For more information and media requests, please contact Mr. Ugo Cedrangolo (ugo.cedrangolo1@un.org or ohchr-wgeid@un.org)