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Press releases Special Procedures

Greece: UN experts on arbitrary detention launch official visit

28 November 2019

Greek version

GENEVA (28 November 2019) – The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will carry out an official visit to Greece, from 2 to 13 December 2019, to assess the country's situation regarding deprivation of liberty.

The delegation – comprising of three members of the group, José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez, Leigh Toomey and Sètondji Roland Adjovi – will meet Government officials, civil society groups and other relevant stakeholders.

The experts will also visit a variety of places where people are held, including prisons, police stations and institutions for juveniles, migrants and people with psychosocial disabilities, to gather first-hand information which will form part of their overall assessment.

The Working Group will share their preliminary observations at a press conference on 13 December 2019, at 12:00 local time, at the Electra Hotel Athens (5 Ermou street, Athens). Access will be strictly limited to journalists. 

The Working Group will present its final report on the visit to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2020.


The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was established by the former Commission on Human Rights in 1991 to investigate instances of alleged arbitrary deprivation of liberty. Its mandate was clarified and extended by the Commission to cover the issue of administrative custody of asylum-seekers and immigrants. In September 2019, the Human Rights Council confirmed the scope of the Working Group's mandate and extended it for a further three-year period. The Working Group is comprised of five independent expert members from various regions of the world: Mr. José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez (Mexico; Chair-Rapporteur), Ms. Elina Steinerte (Latvia; Vice-Chair on Follow-up), Ms. Leigh Toomey (Australia; Vice-Chair on Communications), Mr. Sètondji Roland Adjovi (Benin) and Mr. Seong-Phil Hong (the Republic of Korea).

Database of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

The Working Group is 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 that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures' experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page —

For media registration for the Press Conference, please contact Mr. Dimitri Fatouros at + 32 473 610979 /[email protected]

For press inquiries, contact Ms. Lucie Viersma (+41229289380/[email protected]); Ms. Margarita Nechaeva (+41 79-444 4828 / [email protected]); Ms. Camille Delbourgo (+41 79-444 4860/[email protected]) or write to [email protected]

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact:

Mr. Jeremy Laurence (+41 22 917 9383 / [email protected])

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

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