The "job" of a UN Special Procedure mandate-holder

The "Special Procedures" of the UN Human Rights Council are independent human rights experts who examine issues globally, or focus on specific places, or on particular groups.

Some are single individuals, some are part of a working group of  five persons from different regions of the world. They serve the Council on a pro bono (unpaid) basis, though their travel costs and living expenses while travelling are covered by the United Nations. They receive administrative and some research assistance from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Most mandates require undertaking between two and three country missions per year, preparing an annual report as well as specific reports on country missions in one of the three working languages of the UN (English, French, Spanish), and presenting these to the UN Human Rights Council in person and responding to questions and comments on them. Some Special Procedures also report to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly.

Although their primary interlocutors are Government representatives, contacts with non-governmental organisations, national human rights institutions and individual victims are an essential part of their assignment. Country mandates are established for one year at a time; thematic ones for three years.

No individual may serve for more than six years in a single mandate, nor may they serve in another UN human rights expert capacity at the same time.

For more information see the Special Procedures Manual

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