GENEVA (7 May 2020) – The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will meet by videoconference from 11 to 15 May 2020 to review more than 500 cases, from 25 countries from all regions of the world.
The five independent experts will also examine allegations received regarding regressive legislation and practices, systemic failures in addressing cases of enforced disappearance and other obstacles met in the implementation of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
The virtual meeting will allow the Working Group to continue reviewing and transmitting individual cases, in accordance with its humanitarian mandate, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The experts will convene remotely to partially fulfil the programme of activities planned for its 121st session, which was scheduled to take place in San José, Costa Rica.
The meeting of the Working Group will be 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-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 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.
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