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Enforced Disappearances: UN expert body announces official visit to Turkey

GENEVA (10 March 2016) – A delegation of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will undertake an official visit to Turkey from 14 to 18 March 2016 to study the measures adopted by the State to prevent and eradicate enforced disappearances, including issues related to truth, justice and reparation for the victims.

The expert group’s delegation, which visits the country at the invitation of the Government, is expected to travel to Ankara, Istanbul and Diyarbakir, where they will meet with State officials, as well as with relatives of disappeared people and representatives of civil society organizations.

The Working Group will be represented by Chair Houria Es-Slami, Vice-Chair Bernard Duhaime, and Henrikas Mickevicius. The independent experts will be accompanied by staff of the Secretariat of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The delegation will hold a press conference at the end of the visit, on 18 March 2016 at the UN House, Birlik Mah. Katar Cad. No:11 Çankaya, Ankara. Further details to follow. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

A final report on the visit is expected to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2016.


The Working Group 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 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. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Disappearances/Pages/DisappearancesIndex.aspx

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.

UN Human Rights, country page – Turkey: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/TRIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests:
Before and during the mission: Ugo Cedrangolo (+41 22 917 9286 /  ucedrangolo@ohchr.org) or Ihsane el Amrani  (+41 22 9179348 /  ielamranichavrier@ohchr.org)  
During the mission: Ugo Cedrangolo (+41(0)79-752-0485; Ihsane el Amrani  (+41(0) 079-444 3781); or Ahmet Parla (+ 90 312 454 1052 / +90 533 500 1497/

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Mr. Xabier Celaya – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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