During 2011, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention commemorated its twentieth anniversary. On that occasion, the Working Group launched a database to facilitate access of victims, States and civil society to its Opinions and other materials.
The Working Group has visited Georgia and Germany at the invitation of their respective Governments. The reports of these visits are contained in addenda to the present document (A/HRC/19/57/Add.2 and 3).
Throughout the period 1 January to 30 November 2011, the Working Group adopted 68 Opinions concerning 105 persons in 31 countries. These Opinions are contained in the addendum 1 to the present document (A/HRC/19/57/Add.1).
Moreover, during the period 18 November 2010–17 November 2011, the Working Group transmitted 108 urgent appeals to 45 Governments concerning 1,629 persons (1,526 men, 99 women and 4 minors). Governments and sources reported that 21 persons were released.
Information about the implementation of recommendations made by the Working Group to the Governments of countries visited was received from the Governments of Angola and Colombia.
This report includes thematic issues to which the Working Group has devoted its attention in 2011, namely the exceptional character of pretrial detention and the human right of habeas corpus. The Working Group also takes the opportunity to reflect upon the impact of its work, cooperation with other United Nations bodies and international and regional instruments for the protection and promotion of human rights, and the need to revisit the definition and scope of arbitrary deprivation of liberty. In connection with the latter, the Working Group has held informal consultations with representatives of Governments and civil society in preparation of its Deliberation No. 9 on the definition and scope of arbitrary deprivation of liberty in customary international law. The Working Group calls upon all States to remedy arbitrary detention mainly through release and compensation measures in compliance with international human rights norms and standards. The Working Group also recommends that States guarantee the human right of habeas corpus under all circumstances as an effective tool to combat the phenomenon of arbitrary detention.