GENEVA / SEOUL (2 February 2017) – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will gather in Seoul from 6 to 10 February to examine almost 600 cases from 42 countries.
The Group -composed of five independent human rights experts- will also meet relatives of those who have disappeared, State authorities from different countries and civil society representatives to exchange information on individual cases and the situation of this heinous crime.
During its 111th session, the expert Group will discuss issues related to enforced disappearances, especially in the context of migration, which will be the topic of an expert consultation to be held at the margin of the session.
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’s meetings are held in private. A press conference will be held at the end of the session on Friday, 10 February, at 15:00 at the 9th Floor of the Seoul Global Center Building, Jongno 38, Seorin-dong, Jongno-gu. Access to the press conference is strictly reserved to journalists.
The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances is comprised of five independent experts from all regions of the world. The Chair-Rapporteur is Ms. Houria Es-Slami (Morocco) and the Vice-Chair is Mr. Bernard Duhaime (Canada); other members are Mr. Tae-Ung Baik (Republic of Korea), Mr. Ariel Dulitzky (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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