Enforced disappearances: UN expert group to examine over 900 cases from 32 countries

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GENEVA (7 May 2014) – Over 900 cases of enforced disappearance are being reviewed by a UN body of independent experts this week.

The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, which is meeting in Geneva from 7 to 16 May, is examining cases from 32 countries, including urgent ones that have just been reported and updated information on cases previously accepted.

The group, composed of five experts, is meeting State delegations, relatives of those who have disappeared and civil society representatives to exchange information on these individual cases, as well as to discuss the phenomenon of enforced disappearances.

The Working Group will, in addition, examine allegations received regarding obstacles encountered in the implementation of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

The members will also adopt the Working Group’s annual report and the thematic study on enforced disappearances and economic, social and cultural rights, and discuss the forthcoming regional visit to Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo* and Montenegro in June 2014 and other future country visits, as well as other activities of the Working Group.
The Working Group’s 103rd session is held in private. A press release will be issued at the end of the session, on 16 May 2014.

(*) Reference to Kosovo should be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council resolution 1244


The Working Group is comprised of five independent experts from all regions of the world. The Chair-Rapporteur is Mr. Ariel Dulitzky (Argentina) and the Vice-Chair is Mr. Osman El-Hajjé (Lebanon); other members are Mr. Olivier de Frouville (France), Ms. Jasminka Dzumhur (Bosnia and Herzegovina), and Mr. Jeremy Sarkin (South Africa).

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. In view of the Working Group's humanitarian mandate, clarification occurs when the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person are clearly established.

The Working Group continues to address cases of disappearances until they are resolved. It 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://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/disappear/docs/Communication_form_E.doc

Read the Working Group’s 2012 report to the UN Human Rights Council: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session22/A.HRC.22.45_English.pdf

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