Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Over 300 new missing-persons cases suspected to be forced disappearances will be reviewed in the current session of a dedicated United Nations unit meeting in Geneva, a UN spokesperson said today. The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances plans to review 326 newly submitted cases of enforced disappearances as well new information on previously accepted cases from 32 countries during the first of three annual sessions from 9 to 13 March 2009.
The Working Group, made up of five independent experts, was created by the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1980 to assist families in determining the fate and whereabouts of disappeared relatives and has dealt with 52,952 cases transmitted to it since then, according to the Group’s press release. It endeavours to establish a channel of communication between families of the disappeared and the Governments concerned to ensure that individual cases are investigated. What the Group calls “clarification” occurs when the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person is clearly established, it says, adding that it continues to address cases of disappearances until they are resolved. It will present its 2008 annual report to the 10th Session of the U.N. Human Rights Council.