UN Expert Panel to Draft Guiding Principles For Anyone to Challenge the Legality of Arbitrary Detention
GENEVA (26 August 2013) – The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention* is meeting this week in Geneva to lay
the foundations for the draft guiding principles on the right of anyone deprived of his or her liberty to bring
proceedings before a court in order to challenge the legality of the detention.
“These basic principles and guidelines aim to ensure the respect of the fundamental right of victims of arbitrary
detention to go to court so that it may decide without delay on the lawfulness of their detention, and order their
immediate release if the detention is not lawful,” said El Hadji Malick Sow, who currently heads the five-member body.
“The draft basic principles and guidelines is an imperative task entrusted to us by the UN Human Rights Council in July
2012,” Mr. Sow added. “These principles and guidelines are to assist member States in fulfilling their obligation to
avoid arbitrary deprivation of liberty.”
The Working Group is soliciting from various stakeholders including States and non-state actors, information regarding
this important initiative.
During its 67th session, the group of human rights experts will also discuss more than 20 confidential cases concerning
20 different countries, as well as work on various issues relating to deprivation of liberty and forthcoming country
visits and communications from States.
Last year, the expert panel adopted 69 Opinions concerning 198 persons in 37 States. It also transmitted 104 urgent
appeals to 44 Governments concerning 606 individuals, including 56 women. Governments and sources reported that 21
persons were released. In other cases, the Working Group was assured that the detainees concerned would be guaranteed a
fair trial. The experts also focused on the definition and scope of arbitrary deprivation of liberty under customary
The Working Group’s 67th session will be held in private at Palais des Nations, UN headquarters in Geneva.
(*) The Working Group is comprised of five independent expert members from various regions of the world. The
Chair-Rapporteur is Mr. El Hadji Malick Sow (Senegal) and the Vice-Chair is Ms. Shaheen Sardar Ali (Pakistan). Other
members include Mr. Mads Andenas (Norway), Mr. Roberto Garretón (Chile) and Mr. Vladimir Tochilovsky (Ukraine).