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Cancellation of the first official visit to Nauru by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

GENEVA (9 April 2014) – The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was due to conduct its first official visit to the Republic of Nauru to assess the situation of deprivation of liberty in the country, from 14 to 19 April 2014. The visit has now been cancelled. The following statement is attributable to Xabier Celaya, media officer for Special Procedures*:

“The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention wrote to the Republic of Nauru on 3 February 2014 requesting a visit.

On 25 February 2014, the Government of Nauru responded positively in a letter from the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, suggesting the dates of 14 to 19 April 2014.

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention wrote back to the Government on 28 February 2014 to confirm it would visit the country on those dates.

On 24 March 2014, the Government of Nauru informed the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that it was not able to accommodate the visit due ‘to unforeseen circumstances’.

In a letter of 1 April 2014, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention officially proposed new dates from 26 to 29 May 2014.

On 7 April, the Government of Nauru responded to the Working Group that it was not able to accommodate the request on those dates.

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will continue its dialogue with the Government of Nauru to offer its cooperation and will propose new dates that it hopes will be mutually convenient.”

ENDS

(*) The United Nations human rights experts are part of what it is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world.

They are charged by the Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise on human rights issues. Currently, there are 37 thematic mandates and 14 mandates related to countries and territories, with 72 mandate holders. In March 2014, three new mandates were added. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. Learn more: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/Welcomepage.aspx

The special procedures mechanism known as the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was established by the former Commission on Human Rights in 1991 to investigate instances of alleged arbitrary deprivation of liberty. Its mandate was clarified and extended by the Commission in 1997 to cover the issue of administrative custody of asylum-seekers and immigrants. In September 2013, the Human Rights Council confirmed the scope of the Working Group's mandate and extended it for a further three-year period. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Detention/Pages/WGADIndex.aspx

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Nauru:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/NRIndex.aspx

Xabier Celaya, media officer for Special Procedures (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org) or write to press-info@ohchr.org