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Media advisories Special Procedures

Enforced disappearance: UN expert group to review over 3000 cases from 36 countries

18 September 2023

GENEVA (18 September 2023) – The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will hold its 131st session from 18 to 27 September 2023 to examine more than 3000 cases from 36 countries. It will also review more than ten cases of acts tantamount to enforced disappearances concerning two non-State actors.

The experts will hold meetings with relatives of forcibly disappeared persons, State representatives, civil society groups and other stakeholders to discuss individual cases and structural issues and challenges related to enforced disappearances.

They will also examine allegations received regarding obstacles encountered in the implementation of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, such as regressive legislation and practices, or systemic failures in addressing cases of enforced disappearance, notably in the areas of truth and justice.

The Working Group will also discuss internal matters and future activities, such as country visits and reports to the Human Rights Council, including its upcoming thematic focus on elections and enforced disappearances.

The session of the Working Group will coincide with the presentation of its annual report to the 54th session of the Human Rights Council on 19 September 2023. The experts will also report to the Human Rights Council on country visits to Honduras and Uruguay and present a thematic report on new technologies and enforced disappearances.

The Working Group will hold a hybrid public event on the issue of new technologies and enforced disappearances in Room III of the Palais des Nations on Wednesday 27 September 2023 at 10:00 a.m. (CET).

The decisions made by the Working Group during the 131st session will be reflected in its next post-sessional report.

The sessions of the Working Group are held in private.


The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances is comprised of five independent experts from all regions of the world. The Chair is Aua Baldé and the Vice-Chair is Gabriella Citroni; other members are Grażyna Baranowska, Ana Lorena Delgadillo Pérez, Angkhana Neelapaijit.

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.

Learn how to submit a case to the Working Group.

Learn more about the work of the Working Group.

For more information and media requests, please contact Mr. Ugo Cedrangolo: [email protected] or [email protected]

Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

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