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Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances concludes its 114th session

Brussels, 9 February 2018

The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) concluded its 114th session held between 5 and 9 February 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.

The Working Group examined under its urgent action procedure 119 reported cases of enforced disappearances that have occurred in the last few months, concerning Bangladesh, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, United Arab Emirates- as well as 742 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: Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bhutan, Bolivia, China, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Gambia, Guinea, India, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Peru, Russian Federation, South Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, United States of America, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

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 Ukraine (June 2018) and Mali (second semester of 2018). The Working Group regrets that, after the postponement of the visit scheduled for November 2017, the Government of Sudan has not officially confirmed yet the full-fledged visit in March 2018, as agreed during the preparatory visit undertaken in December 2017.

The experts met with family members of disappeared persons, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders. They also held meetings with representatives of the Governments of Japan, Mexico, Morocco and Portugal.

On 5 February, in cooperation with the Government of Belgium and the OHCHR Regional Office for Europe, the Working Group held a discussion on ‘Enforced disappearance in the 21st century: nature, challenges and measures to combat it’.

The Working Group thanks the Government of Belgium for the invitation to hold the session in Brussels.

The Working Group will hold its 115th session in Geneva, from 23 April to 2 May 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)