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Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances concludes its 110th session

GENEVA (23 September 2016) – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances concluded its 110th session, which took place in Geneva from 19 to 23 September 2016.

The Working Group examined under its urgent action procedure 121 reported cases of enforced disappearances that have occurred in the last few months – concerning Bangladesh, Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Laos, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, Sudan and Turkey - as well as more than  600 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, Argentina, Bahrain, Bhutan, Chile, China, Colombia, DPRK, DRC, Ecuador, El Salvador, Greece, India, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Peru, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Syria,, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

The group of independent experts also focused on specific country situations, in particular regarding the obstacles encountered in the implementation of the Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance.* The Working Group reviewed responses from various Governments to prompt intervention letters, general allegations and urgent appeals. Members also discussed their forthcoming and potential country visits, as well as future activities, including the 111th session to be held in Seoul at the beginning of 2017.

The experts also continued to discuss a number of thematic issues of relevance to the mandate, including the matter of enforced disappearances in the context of migration, and enforced disappearances and non-state actors. They also continued to discuss internal guidelines on the issue of access and management of the Working Group’s archives. 

The experts met with family members of disappeared persons and non-governmental organizations.  They also held meetings with representatives of the Governments of Japan and Peru.

During the session, Ms. Houria Es Slami was re-elected by consensus Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group.
The Working Group will hold its 111th session in Seoul, Republic of Korea, in the first quarter of 2017.

(*) 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 Ms. Houria Es-Slami (Morocco) and the Vice-Chair is Mr. Bernard Duhaime (Canada); other members are Mr. Tae-Ung Baik (Republic of Korea), Mr. Ariel Dulitzky (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)