Working Group on enforced or involuntary Disappearances concluded its 116th session

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GENEVA (19 September 2018) – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) concluded its 116th session held between 10 and 14 September 2018.

The Working Group examined under its urgent action procedure 75 reported cases of enforced disappearances that have occurred in the last few months, concerning Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela- as well as 754 other cases, including newly-reported cases outside the urgent action procedure and updated information on previously accepted ones. 

Other countries whose cases were examined during the session are: Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Democratic People's, Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Guatemala, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Peru, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uzbekistan and Yemen.

The Working Group also reviewed responses from a number of Governments to prompt intervention letters, general allegations and urgent appeals and also adopted new general allegations. Members also discussed their forthcoming and potential country visits, including its next visit to Mali in November 2018.

The experts met with family members of disappeared persons and non-governmental organizations. They also held meetings with representatives of the Governments of Angola, Egypt, El Salvador, Morocco, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine. 

On 10 September, the Working Group held an expert consultation on standards and public policies for an effective investigation of enforced disappearances, in order to inform its next thematic report to the UN Human Rights Council.  

During the session, on 12 September, the Working Group also presented its annual report  to the Human Rights Council as well as the reports on the Working Group’s visit to the Gambia and the follow-up reports on the recommendations made by the Working Group upon past visits to the Western Balkans.

The Group also re-appointed Bernard Duhaime as Chair-Rapporteur and Tae-Ung Baik as Vice-Chair.

The Working Group will hold its 117th session in February 2019.

(*) Check the Declaration:

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. Bernard Duhaime (Canada) and the Vice-Chair is Mr. Tae-Ung Baik (Republic of Korea); other members are Ms. Houria Es-Slami (Morocco); Mr. Luciano Hazan (Argentina) 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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