Arbitrary Detention: first fact-finding visit to Greece by UN rights expert group

GENEVA / ATHENS (17 January 2013) – The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will undertake its first official fact-finding mission to Greece to assess the situation of deprivation of liberty in the country.

From 21 to 31 January 2013, the group of independent experts designated by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate allegations of arbitrary deprivation of liberty will visit various detention facilities, including prisons, police stations, detention centres for migrants and psychiatric institutions.

The fact-finding mission will provide an opportunity to engage with the relevant authorities at the executive, legislative, judicial and local levels as well as civil society organizations.

The delegation will consist of Mr. Mads Andenas (from Norway) and Mr. Vladimir Tochilovsky (from Ukraine)*. They will be accompanied by staff from the UN human rights office.

A press conference on the preliminary findings of the Working Group will be held in Athens on Thursday 31 January. Further details to follow.

The final report of the visit will be presented to the Human Rights Council in 2013.

The former Commission on Human Rights established the Working Group in 1991 to investigate allegations of arbitrary deprivation of liberty. Its mandate was extended in 1997 to cover the issue of the administrative custody of immigrants and asylum-seekers. The Human Rights Council extended the Working Group’s mandate for a further three-year period on 30 September 2010. Learn more, visit:

(*) The other three members of the Working Group are El Hadji Malick Sow who is the Chair-Rapporteur (from Senegal), Shaheen Sardar Ali who is the Vice-Chair (from Pakistan) and Roberto Garretón (from Chile).

Database of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention at:

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Greece:

For more information and media requests, please contact:
Dimitri Fatouros (+32 2 788 84 68 /
Miguel de la Lama, Secretary of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (+41 79 444 4187 / or
Helle Dahl Iversen (+41 79 444 4908 /

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 /

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