Enforced Disappearances: UN experts in official visit to Spain

GENEVA (19 September 2013) – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances* will visit Spain from 23 to 30 September 2013.

During the official visit, the UN experts will examine the measures taken by Spain on issues related to the prevention and eradication of enforced or involuntary disappearances. The experts will analyse in particular issues related to truth, justice, reparation and memory for victims of enforced disappearances.

The Working Group will visit Madrid and the Autonomous Communities of Catalonia, Andalucía and the Basque Country. In Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and Vitoria, the experts will meet with authorities and officials from the State and the Autonomous Communities, relatives of disappeared persons, representatives of civil society organizations, lawyers and academics. The Working Group will also visit memorial sites.

The visit will be conducted by two members of the Working Group, Ms. Jasminka Dzumhur and Mr. Ariel Dulitzky, who will be accompanied by staff of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

At the end of the visit, on 30 September 2013, the Working Group will hold a press conference in Madrid at the Hotel NH Paseo del Prado, at 16h00.

A final report on the visit will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in 2014.

The Working Group was established by the 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. In view of the Working Group's 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 United Nations Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

(*) The Working Group is comprised of five independent experts from all regions of the world. The Chair-Rapporteur is Mr. Olivier de Frouville (France) and the Vice-Chair is Mr. Osman El-Hajjé (Lebanon). The other members are Mr. Ariel Dulitzky (Argentina), Ms. Jasminka Dzumhur (Bosnia and Herzegovina), and Mr. Jeremy Sarkin (South Africa).

For more information on the Working Group, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/disappear/index.htm

How to submit cases to the Working Group?: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/disappear/docs/Communication_form_E.doc

For more information and media requests:
Before the mission: Michelle Erazo (+41 22 917 9449 / merazo@ohchr.org)
Before and during the mission: Michelle Erazo (+41 22 917 9449 / merazo@ohchr.org) or Ugo Cedrangolo (+41 79 444 4332 / ucedrangolo@ohchr.org)