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Enforced Disappearances: UN expert group launches first official visit to Albania


GENEVA (1 December 2016) – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will undertake its first official visit to Albania from 5 to 12 December.
During the mission, the UN experts will 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 of enforced disappearances.

The expert body, which visits the country at the invitation of the Government, will meet with State officials, relatives of disappeared persons, representatives of civil society organizations and of relevant UN agencies.

The Working Group will be represented by its current Chair-Rapporteur, Ms. Houria Es-Slami, and by Mr. Henrikas Mickevicius.

The Group’s delegation will hold a press conference at the end of the visit, on 12 December, at 11:30 hours, at the Tirana International Hotel, Sheshi Skënderbej 8, Tirana, Albania. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to members of the press.

A final report on the visit will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2017.

The Working Group was established in 1980 by the then UN Commission on Human Rights 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 its 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 UN Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (check the Declaration):  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/EnforcedDisappearance.aspx


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). 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 – Albania: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/ALIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests:

In Geneva (before and after the visit): Ms. Gabriela Guzmán (+41 22 917 9412 / gguzman@ohchr.org)  
In Tirana (during the visit): Ms. Nora Kushti (+355 69 20 90 253 /

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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