French | Spanish

Commemoration event for the 30th Anniversary of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

Geneva, 5 November 2010, 10:00h to 13:00h and 15:00h to 18:00h, Palais des Nations (Room XIX), Geneva, Switzerland


On 18 June 2010, the Human Rights Council adopted Resolution 14/10. In this resolution, the Council, while “commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, and taking this opportunity to raise awareness about enforced disappearances and to call for the prevention and eradication of this crime…requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to organize…a one-day event to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the Working Group.”

The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances was the first United Nations human rights thematic special procedure established with a universal mandate. On 29 February 1980, following the numerous allegations of cases of enforced disappearances that originated in various parts of the world during the 1970s, the former Commission on Human Rights adopted Resolution 20 (XXXVI) establishing a body of five experts from different regions of the world to examine this phenomenon for one year. Since that date, the mandate of the Working Group has been regularly renewed. The Working Group has dealt with more than 50,000 cases from more than 80 countries from all parts of the world.

The Working Group’s core mandate is to assist relatives to ascertain the fate and whereabouts of their disappeared family members. It examines reports of disappearances received from relatives of disappeared persons or human rights organizations acting on their behalf. The Working Group deals with the cases on a purely humanitarian basis, irrespective of whether the Government concerned has ratified any relevant human rights treaty providing for an individual complaints procedure. It acts essentially as a channel of communication between the families of disappeared persons and Governments, and has successfully developed a dialogue with the majority of Governments concerned with the aim of solving cases of disappearance.

Following the adoption in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance as a body of principles for all States, the Working Group was encouraged to provide assistance in the implementation by States of the Declaration.

On 20 December 2006, the United Nations the General Assembly adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. This human rights treaty will enter into force after the deposit of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession. As of September 2010, 86 States have signed and 19 have ratified or acceded to the Convention.


The event will take place in Geneva (Palais des Nations, Room XIX) on Friday, 5 November 2010, from 10:00h to 13:00h and 15:00h to 18:00h. After an opening ceremony (10:00 to 10:45), the event will be divided in two panel presentations:

1. The WGEID: stories and history (10:45 to 13:00)
2. The WGEID: 30 years of evolution and the way forward (15:00 to 18:00)

Each panel will be moderated either by the Chair-Rapporteur or a WGEID member. Presentations by the panellists (8 minutes maximum) will be followed by an interactive discussion. The interactive discussion will consist of 30 minutes for comments and questions from the floor, followed by 15 minutes for comments and replies by panellists. The interactive discussion will be followed by concluding remarks by WGEID members.

Member States, national human rights institutions, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and representatives of civil society, including families of victims, are encouraged to participate and contribute to the debate. Interventions should not be longer than three minutes.

Participants not holding a valid UN photo security pass are required to register in advance by filling the "Registration Form", which must be confirmed by the WGEID Secretariat. The deadline for registration is 26 October 2010. Upon arrival, the registered participants can obtain a photo identity badge, upon presentation of an identity document, at the United Nations: Palais des Nations - Security entrance Pregny Gate, 8 - 14 Avenue de la Paix 1211 Geneva 10.


E / F / S (PDF)

Registration form:
E (Word)


"Thirty years between hope and despair: the experience of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances", side event at the 13th session of the Human Rights Council


Thematic issues

Standards and public policies for an effective investigation of enforced disappearances (A/HRC/45/13/Add.3)

- Enforced Disappearances in the context of migration of WGEID study on enforced disappearances in the context of migration
E | F | S

- Enforced disappearances and economic, social and cultural rights
Unofficial translations of WGEID study on enforced disappearances and economic, social and cultural rights
AF | S

- Reparations and enforced disappearances (A/HRC/22/45, paras. 46-68)

How to report a case of disappearance

How to use the WGEID (PDF)

Form to submit a communication on a victim of an enforced disappearance
E | F | S (Word)

Flyer on WGEID’s procedures (PDF)

How to submit cases (video)

Related documents
Related links