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UN team arrives to get data on the missing

September 09, 2012

A final report on the mission will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council(above) next year. — File Photo by Reuters

ISLAMABAD: A delegation of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances arrived here on Sunday to gather information on cases of missing persons.

During its 10-day mission undertaken at the invitation of the government, the UN team will study the measures adopted by Pakistan to prevent and eradicate enforced disappearances and issues related to truth, justice and reparation for the victims.

The delegation, comprising Olivier de Frouville, the Chair-Rapporteur, and Osman El Hajjé, member, will be accompanied by members of the secretariat of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The working group believes that enforced disappearance is not only a crime but also an act that negates the very essence of humanity and is contrary to the deepest values of any society. Such a practice cannot and should not be tolerated nor justified whether it is used to counter terrorism or fight organised crime or suppress legitimate demands concerning issues such as democracy, freedom of expression or freedom of religion.

The delegation will visit various parts of the country and meet officials, representatives of civil society organisations and UN agencies and relatives of disappeared people.

The working group was set up 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 law. A final report on the mission will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council next year.