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Enforced disappearances: UN expert group to review more than 600 cases from 36 countries

GENEVA (12 February 2021) – The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will hold its 123rd session from 15 to 19 February 2021 to examine more than 600 cases from 36 countries.

The five independent experts will convene remotely, and meet with relatives of forcibly disappeared persons, state authorities, civil society representatives and other stakeholders to exchange information on individual cases and on the persistent practice of enforced disappearances.

The experts will also examine allegations received regarding obstacles encountered in the implementation of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, such as regressive legislation and practices, or systemic failures in addressing cases of enforced disappearance.

Issues such as disappearances perpetrated by non-state actors, as well as enforced disappearances occurring in the context of transnational transfers, will also be discussed.

The Working Group will also discuss internal matters and future activities, including country visits planned for 2021 and 2022. It will release a statement at the conclusion of the session and decisions made will be reflected in the Working Group’s next post-sessional report.

The Working Group sessions are held in private.


The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances comprises five independent experts from all regions of the world. The Chair-Rapporteur is Mr. Tae-Ung Baik (Republic of Korea); and the Vice-Chair is Mr. Henrikas Mickevicius (Lithuania), other members are Ms. Aua Balde (Guinea- Bissau); Mr. Bernard Duhaime (Canada) and Luciano Hazan (Argentina).

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 Proceduresof 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.

Learn how to submit a case to the Working Group.

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

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts: Renato de Souza (+41 22 928 9855 / rrosariodesouza@ohchr.org)

Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

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