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United Nations: Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Begins Session

(Sept. 6, 2011) On August 29, 2011, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention began a five-day session to consider 43 cases of arbitrary dentention from 22 countries. Information about the cases, which are viewed as confidential, will be reviewed, including documents submitted by the nations involved. Experts will also meet with national representatives and civil society organizations to discuss the cases and related issues. (UN Expert Panel of Arbitrary Detention to Disucuss 43 Cases in Next Week's Session, UN NEWS CENTRE (Aug. 26, 2011); Working Group on Arbitrary Detention website (last visited Sept. 6, 2011).)

The Working Group was created in 1991 by the former U.N. Commission on Human Rights; its mission is to investigate cases of arbitrary deprivation of liberty. Its scope of interest was expanded to include administrative custody of asylum seekers and immigrants, and in 2010 its mandate was extended for three years. This November it will celebrate 20 years of service. (UN Expert Panel of Arbitrary Detention to Discuss 43 Cases in Next Week's Session, supra.)

The Working Group will also be compiling a report on their June 2011 mission to the nation of Georgia; the document will include observations on detention issues in the country, together with recommendations. In 2010, the Working Group issued 33 opinions, covering detentions in 23 countries concerning 98 people; it also sent 102 urgent appeals to 56 countries, covering questions about 2,826 individuals, of whom 23 were released from detention. (Id.)