08/09/2004
Press Release
HR/4790


WORKING GROUP ON ARBITRARY DETENTION TO MEET IN GENEVA FROM 13 TO 17 SEPTEMBER


(Reissued as Received.)


GENEVA, 8 September (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will hold its fortieth session from 13 to 17 September 2004 in Geneva.


The Working Group, established in 1991, investigates allegations of arbitrary deprivation of liberty.  Since 1997, its mandate has been extended to cover the issue of administrative custody of asylum-seekers and immigrants.


Last year, the Working Group adopted 26 opinions concerning 151 persons in 12 countries.  In 131 cases, it considered the deprivation of liberty to be arbitrary.  The panel also transmitted 157 urgent appeals concerning 812 individuals to 47 governments.  Thirty-three of those governments informed the Working Group that they had taken measures to remedy the situation of the detainees in question –- either release or the assurance that the detainees concerned would receive fair trial guarantees.  (Details of cases are contained in the Group’s latest report to the Commission, documents E/CN.4/2004/3 and Add.1).


The Working Group also formulated in 2003 general recommendations on discrimination; deprivation of liberty of vulnerable persons; pre-trial detention; and deprivation of liberty linked to the use of the Internet.  In 2002, the panel issued general recommendations on the use of detention as a means of combating terrorism; the recourse to detention as a means of protecting victims (“protective custody”) and the arbitrary character -- on the ground of discrimination -- of detention motivated by sexual orientation.


The Working Group meets three times a year in Geneva.  Its members are Leïla Zerrougui (Algeria), Chairperson-Rapporteur; Tamás Bán (Hungary), Vice-Chairperson; Soledad Villagra de Biedermann (Paraguay); Seyyed Mohammad Hashemi (Iran); and Manuela Carmena Castrillo (Spain).  Representatives of human rights organizations and families of persons in detention, or witnesses directly concerned with reports of arbitrary detention, submit cases to the Group.


For more information on the Working Group, please consult OHCHR Fact-Sheet N° 26, or visit the following Internet address:http://www.unhchr.ch/htm1/menu2/7/b/mard.htm.


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