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Terminology Corner
Special Rapporteur

Among the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) are Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts with human rights mandates, providing politically neutral and factual reports and advice to the UNHRC on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective. They are unpaid and appointed by a committee of the UNHRC for 3-year mandates that can be renewed for another three years. As of September 2020, UNHRC has appointed Special Rapporteurs (SPs) and Independent Experts (IEs) to 44 thematic and 11 country mandates.

With the support of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), SRs:

  • Undertake country visits;
  • Act on individual cases of reported violations and concerns of a broader nature by sending communications to states and other relevant parties;
  • Conduct annual thematic studies, seek information from calls for input and convene expert consultations;
  • Contribute to the development of international human rights standards; and
  • Engage in advocacy, raise public awareness and provide advice for technical cooperation.

Special procedure mandate holders help advance human rights in ways both small and large. They can contribute to:

Legislative reform

Improve access to mechanisms of redress

Policy reform

Human rights mainstreaming

Contribution to government/judicial processes

Human rights standard setting

Raising human rights awareness

Facilitating dialogue/coalition setting

Preventing/cessation of violations

For more information see OHCHR



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