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Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances concludes its 119th session

Geneva, 20 September 2019 

The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) concluded its 119th session, held between 16 and 20 September 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Working Group examined under its urgent action procedure 59 reported cases of enforced disappearances that have occurred in the last few months, concerning Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, China, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, Venezuela and Vietnam. 

It also examined 493 cases, including newly reported cases outside the urgent action procedure and updated information on previously accepted ones concerning Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Ecuador, El Salvador, Egypt, India, Iran, Kuwait, Libya, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Oman, Pakistan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Venezuela. 

The Working Group also reviewed responses from various Governments to prompt intervention letters, general allegations and urgent appeals. It also adopted new general allegations and discussed its future and potential country visits, including a foreseen visit to Burkina Faso in November. 

The Working Group also discussed its forthcoming study on the effective investigation of enforced disappearances, as well as the issue of disappearances carried out by Non State Actors. 

The experts met with relatives of disappeared persons, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders. They also held meetings with representatives of the Governments of Israel, Japan, Libya, Morocco, the Philippines and Portugal. 

The Group also appointed Mr. Luciano Hazan as Chair-Rapporteur and re-appointed Mr. Tae-Ung Baik as Vice-Chair.

The Working Group will hold its 120th session in February 2020. 

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 Mr. Tae-Ung Baik (Republic of Korea); other members are Ms. Houria Es-Slami (Morocco), Mr. Bernard Duhaime (Canada) 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. 

More information on the Working Group 

See how to submit cases to the Working Group in this new animated video. 

Read the Working Group’s 2019 report to the UN Human Rights Council and post-sessional documents 

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