GENEVA / SARAJEVO (8 February 2019) – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will hold its 117th session in Bosnia and Herzegovina, from 11 to 15 February 2019. It will examine more than 760 cases from 37 countries.
The Group of five independent human rights experts will also meet relatives of those who have disappeared, State authorities from different countries, civil society representatives and others to exchange information on individual cases and on the situation of this heinous crime.
During its meeting in Sarajevo, the Working Group will discuss other issues including its future activities and planned visits. Its members will also examine allegations received regarding obstacles encountered in the implementation of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
The experts will also use the opportunity of their presence in the country, to meet with the relevant authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and pay their respects to the victims of war crimes.
The Working Group’s meetings are held in private. A press conference will take place at the end of the session on Friday, 15 February at 1:00 pm local time, in the Blue Conference Room of the Parliamentary Assembly Building of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
TheWorking Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearancesis 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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