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Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances concludes its 123rd session

24 February 2021

Geneva, 24 February 2021

The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) concluded its 123rd session, which took place online between 15 and 19 February.

During the session, the Working Group examined 31 reported cases of enforced disappearances it had transmitted under its urgent procedure since October 2020, concerning Cameroon, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

It also reviewed 581 cases, including newly reported cases outside the urgent procedure and updated information on previously transmitted cases concerning Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Burundi, Cameroon, China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Egypt, El Salvador, Honduras, India, Iran, Iraq, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, Vietnam and Yemen.

In the spirit of its humanitarian mandate, the Working Group continued to document and discuss acts tantamount to enforced disappearances, perpetrated 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 Algeria and Japan.

During the session, the Working Group reviewed responses from various Governments to prompt intervention letters, general allegations and urgent appeals. It examined new general allegations, discussed its future and potential country visits, and reviewed its upcoming thematic report on enforced disappearances occurring in the context of extraterritorial transfers.

The Working Group will hold its next session in May 2021.

ENDS

The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances comprises five independent experts from all regions of the world. The Chair-Rapporteur is Mr. Tae-Ung Baik (Republic of Korea); and the Vice-Chair is Mr. Henrikas Mickevicius (Lithuania), other members are Ms. Aua Balde (Guinea- Bissau); Mr. Bernard Duhaime (Canada) and Luciano Hazan (Argentina).

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. Follow news related to the working Group on Twitter @wgeid.

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

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts: Renato de Souza (+41 22 928 9855 / [email protected])

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

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