GENEVA (11 February 2022) - The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) concluded its 126th session, which took place between 7 and 11 February 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland.
During the session, the Working Group examined 17 reported cases of enforced disappearances it had transmitted under its urgent action procedure since 29 September 2021, concerning Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, and Saudi Arabia.
It also reviewed 727 cases, including newly reported cases outside the urgent action procedure and updated information on previously transmitted cases concerning Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, China, Colombia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of).
The Working Group also reviewed responses from various Governments to prompt intervention letters, general allegations and urgent appeals. It adopted new general allegations, and held discussions on the progress of a number of projects, including a follow-up report on the recommendations made on its report to the visit in Ukraine, a new thematic report on new technologies and enforced disappearances and a stocktaking study to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1992 Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. It also discussed the prospects for envisaged country visits in 2022, notably to Cyprus and Kenya.
In the spirit of its humanitarian mandate, the Working Group continued to document and discuss acts tantamount to enforced disappearances perpetrated by non-state actors. In this context, the Working Group decided to transmit 3 cases to the de facto authorities in Sana’a, Yemen based on the information submitted by sources.
The experts also met with relatives of disappeared persons, non-governmental organizations, State representatives and other stakeholders.
The Working Group will hold its 127th session from 9-13 May 2022.
The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances is comprised of five independent experts from all regions of the world. The Chair-Rapporteur is Mr. Luciano Hazan (Argentina); and the Vice-Chair is Ms. Aua Balde (Guinea- Bissau); other members are Ms. Gabriella Citroni (Italy); Mr. Henrikas Mickevicius (Lithuania); and Mr. Tae-Ung Baik (Republic of Korea).
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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