Report of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (A/HRC/19/58)
The Working Group expresses its strong objection to the decision of the United Nations Secretariat not to grant a waiver to the 10,700 word limit to the present report, as has been the case for almost every year since such a limit was imposed by the General Assembly in 1993.
This year, the UN Secretariat would not grant such a waiver, more than one month after the report was finalised by the independent expert members of the Working Group at its 95th session in November 2011. That refusal means that the report is neither edited nor translated into the other United Nations official languages.
The regular decision over the years by the UN Secretariat to grant such a waiver was based on the peculiarities of the Working Group's mandate. Compared to other special procedures (with the exception of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention) the Working Group is specifically mandated to deal with individual cases on a humanitarian basis. Those cases are registered in a database and are followed-up every year until clarified. This year, the Working Group is still following up the individual cases of almost 43, 000 persons in 82 States.
The report each year gives an account of how the Working Group is fulfilling its humanitarian mandate: it contains communications to and from Member States and statistics on cases. Most of all, it includes the names of those people who have disappeared and whose disappearance was communicated to the Working Group during the reporting period. The fact that these matters and names are not recorded or made public in any other United Nations document, makes the report a unique tool in the fight against enforced disappearances and at the service of Governments and officials as well as civil society. The lack of translation of the report gravely hampers the independence and efficacy of the Working Group in fulfilling its humanitarian and monitoring mandate.
The Working Group invites the Human Rights Council to consider the situation and urges the United Nations Secretariat to consider in future the uniqueness of the Working Group's annual report and to grant the waiver as it did in the past. The Working Group encourages Governments and civil society organizations to translate the report in their national languages, so as to provide wider access to the information contained in the Working Group's annual report. The Working Group is concerned that many communications are not still translated in time, thus delaying their consideration by the Working Group and limiting its humanitarian mandate.