Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Thursday 16 April 2015

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention* will adopt its Basic Principles and Guidelines on the right of anyone deprived of liberty to challenge the lawfulness of his or her detention before court. The new guidelines will be approved in Geneva during the Group’s 72nd session (20-29 April). 

“The right to have the detention reviewed in court without delay is a central element of everyone’s right to liberty and security,” said human rights expert Mads Andenas, who currently heads the five-member body.

“We have developed - through global consultations - a concrete and practical guidance for UN Member States to fulfill their obligations to respect, protect and promote this fundamental right,” Mr. Andenas added. 

This guiding document, which will be presented to the Human Rights Council in September this year, is intended to advise States and other relevant actors in establishing effective mechanisms to ensure judicial oversight over all situations of deprivation of liberty.

During its upcoming session, the Working Group will also discuss close to 30 confidential cases concerning 23 different countries. It further plans to meet with representatives from States and civil society organizations to assess various issues relating to deprivation of liberty.

Last year, the human rights experts adopted 57 opinions in respect of 30 different countries. In a number of cases, Governments and sources reported that the individuals were released and in other cases, the Working Group was assured that the detainees concerned would be guaranteed a fair trial.

(*) The Working Group is comprised of five independent expert members from various regions of the world. The Chair-Rapporteur is Mr. Mads Andenas (Norway) and the Vice-Chair is Mr. Vladimir Tochilovsky (Ukraine). The other members are Mr. Sètondji Roland Jean-Baptiste Adjovi (Benin), Mr. Seong-Phil Hong (Republic of Korea) and Mr. José Guevara (Mexico).