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Enforced disappearances: UN expert body to study more than 400 cases from 29 countries

NEW YORK (15 July 2013) – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances* started reviewing more than 440 cases of enforced disappearances. These include a number of cases under its urgent action procedure and information on newly-submitted cases, previously accepted ones and other communications concerning 29 countries.

The independent experts will meet with State delegations, including family members of those who have disappeared and civil society representatives, to exchange information and views on individual cases under consideration and on the phenomenon of enforced disappearances in general. 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 Working Group will hold discussions on its methods of work, the thematic section of its next annual report and forthcoming and potential country visits.

On 15 July 2013, the Working Group in cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and with the support of the Permanent Missions of Argentina and France, held a commemorative event to mark its 100th session: “Countering enforced disappearances today: Sharing experiences and building strategies”, consisting of two panel discussions: one panel focusing on achievements and prospect after 100 sessions of the Working Group and the second panel focusing on strategies to counter enforced disappearances today (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Disappearances/Pages/100thsessioneventNewYork.aspx).

The Working Group’s 100th session is taking place from 15 July to 19 July in New York at the United Nations Secretariat, conference room 6, North Lawn Building. A press release will be issued at the end of the session, on 19 July 2013.

(*) 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 Vice-Chair is Mr. Osman El-Hajjé (Lebanon); other members are Mr. Ariel Dulitzky (Argentina), 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

For more information and media requests, please contact Mr. Ugo Cedrangolo or Ms. Michelle Erazo: wgeid@ohchr.org