Arbitrary Detention: UN expert group launches first information-gathering visit to Morocco

GENEVA (6 December 2013) – The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will undertake its first official visit to Morocco* to assess the situation of deprivation of liberty in the country.

During the ten-day visit from 9 to 18 December 2013, the group of independent experts will visit various detention facilities, including prisons and police stations in order to gather first-hand information from detainees, their families or representatives on their cases of deprivation of liberty.

The Working Group will also engage with relevant authorities, the national human rights institution, as well as civil society organizations, in the cities of Rabat, Casablanca, Salé, Tanger and Laâyoune.

The delegation will consist of the Chair-Rapporteur Mr. Mads Andenas (Norway), Mr. El Hadji Malick Sow (Senegal) and Mr. Roberto Garretón (Chile). They will be accompanied by staff from the Working Group’s Secretariat at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

A press conference on the preliminary observations of the Working Group will be held at La Tour Hassan Hotel, Rabat, on 18 December 2013 at 15:00.

The final report of the visit will be presented to the Human Rights Council in 2014.

The Working Group was established by the former Commission on Human Rights in 1991 to investigate instances of alleged arbitrary deprivation of liberty. Its mandate was clarified and extended by the Commission to cover the issue of administrative custody of asylum-seekers and immigrants. In 2010, the Human Rights Council confirmed the scope of the Working Group's mandate and extended it for a further three-year period in September 2013.

The Working Group is comprised of five independent expert members from various regions of the world. The Chair-Rapporteur is Mr. Mads Andenas (Norway) and the Vice-Chair is Mr. Vladimir Tochilovsky (Ukraine). Other members include Ms. Shaheen Sardar Ali (Pakistan), Mr. Roberto Garretón (Chile) and Mr. El Hadji Malick Sow (Senegal). Learn more, log on to:

(*) The Working Group will also visit Laâyoune, Western Sahara, on 15 and 16 December 2013.

Check the Database of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention:

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Morocco:

For more information and press inquiries, please contact:
During the visit:
Ms. Hind Aboufalah (+212 661297189 /, Mr. Miguel de la Lama (mobile: +41 79 444 4355) and Ms. Helle Dahl Iversen (mobile: +41 79 201 0116) or write to
Before and after the visit:
Mr. Miguel de la Lama (+41 22 917 9289) and Ms. Helle Dahl Iversen + 41 22 917 9421) or write to

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

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