Arbitrary Detention: UN expert body launches first fact-finding mission to Germany

GENEVA (23 September 2011) – The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will undertake an official mission to Germany from 26 September to 5 October 2011, to assess the institutional and legal framework regarding deprivation of liberty in the country.

The independent experts will also visit various places of detention including prisons, penitentiaries, detention facilities for women and juveniles, and psychiatric institutions in the cities of Berlin, Hamburg, Karlsruhe and Stuttgart.

During its ten-day mission, the Working Group will meet with relevant authorities at the executive, judicial and local levels as well as with civil society organizations.

The Working Group’s delegation will be headed by Mr. El Hadji Malick Sow, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group (from Senegal), Ms. Shaheen Sardar Ali, Vice-Chair (from Pakistan) and Mr. Mads Andenas (from Norway)*.

A press conference on the preliminary findings of the Working Group will be held on Wednesday 5 October 2011, in Berlin. The final report of the visit will be presented to the Human Rights Council in 2012.

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 by resolution 15/18 on 30 September 2010.

(*) The other two members of the Working Group are Mr. Roberto Garretón (from Chile) and Mr. Vladimir Tochilovsky (from Ukraine).

Learn more on the mandate and activities of the Working Group at:

OHCHR Country Page – Germany:

The core international human rights instruments:

For more information and media requests, please contact Mr. Miguel de la Lama, Secretary of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (email:

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

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