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Enforced Disappearances: UN Experts Studied About 400 Cases

Enforced Disappearances: UN Experts Studied About 400 Cases - 29 Under its Urgent Action Procedure

GENEVA (16 March 2012) – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances* examined 29 reported cases of enforced disappearances under its urgent action procedure, as well as information on about 400 cases, including newly-submitted cases and previously accepted ones. The cases were seen this week in Geneva, during the Group’s 96th session.

The five-strong expert group studied cases, including urgent actions, concerning Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belarus, Chile, China, Colombia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Honduras, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Pakistan, Peru, Russian Federation, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, Uzbekistan and Yemen.

The independent human rights experts also reviewed responses from various Governments to prompt intervention letters, urgent appeals and general allegations.

During its session, the Working Group also held meetings with representatives of the Governments of the Gambia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Morocco, Namibia, Pakistan, Serbia, Sri Lanka and Tajikistan to exchange views on individual cases and on the issue of enforced disappearance in general. It also met the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Mr. Marzuki Darusman, non-governmental organizations and family members of disappeared persons. Members of the Working Group also held a series of informal bilateral meetings with States with a view to enhance cooperation.

The Working Group also examined allegations submitted by credible sources regarding obstacles encountered in the implementation of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and held discussions on past and potential country visits, as well as future activities.

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

ENDS

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