ISLAMABAD: A two-member mission of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) is set to arrive in Pakistan on Monday (today). The visit follows an invitation extended to the working group by the government of Pakistan.
The mission, comprising WGEID Chair-Rapporteur Olivier de Frouville and working group member Osman el Hajjé, will be accompanied by members from the secretariat of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
During their 10-day mission, the team will tour all provincial headquarters, meeting political leaders, government officials, civil society organisations and human rights activists to gather information on cases of enforced disappearances in the country. The experts will analyse and review measures adopted by Pakistan to eradicate the practice, including issues related to truth, justice and reparation for victims.
While this is the first time any UN team on missing persons visited Pakistan, two high-profile visits by UN human rights experts were paid in the last four months to discuss the agenda for the mission.
Earlier in June, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay visited Pakistan. She had a detailed discussion with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and interacted with human rights activists and civil society organisations in the country. Her visit was preceded by the special rapporteur on the Independence of judges and lawyers Gabriela Knaul’s visit in May.
It should be noted that a day ahead of the mission’s arrival Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry warned intelligence and security officials to improve their work and conduct.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2012.