UN raises disappearances with Lanka

The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has had discussions with Sri Lankan officials on individual cases and on the issue of enforced disappearance in general.

A statement by the working group today said that during its 98th session held in Geneva, from 31 October to 9 November 2012, the independent human rights experts studied cases, including urgent actions, concerning Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Georgia, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kenya, Laos, Libya, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Spain, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe.

It examined 17 reported cases of enforced disappearance under its urgent action procedure, as well as more than 400 cases, including newly-submitted cases and previously accepted ones.

“The Working Group deals with cases of enforced disappearances wherever they occur,” the experts said at the end of the Group’s session, expressing their “deepest concern that after 20 years since the adoption of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, enforced disappearances continue to occur in many countries, often in a persistent manner.”

The expert panel held meetings with representatives of the Governments of Guatemala, Japan, Spain, Sri Lanka and Togo to exchange views on individual cases and on the issue of enforced disappearance in general. It also met with non-governmental organizations and family members of disappeared persons. Members of the Working Group also held informal bilateral meetings with States to exchange information with a view to enhancing cooperation.

The Working Group met with the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, established in 2006 in accordance with article 26 of the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, to exchange information on their respective activities and discussed about the coordination of common initiatives. Finally, in the context of the session, the Working Group’s official missions to Libya and Spain were confirmed for 2013.

The Working Group also finalized and approved its 2012 annual report, which includes chapters on 97 States and two general comments. It also reports on all new cases and those already under consideration, and the Working Group’s major concerns and observations. The report will be presented at the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council, in March 2013.