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Coordination Committee of Special Procedures

At the 12th Annual Meeting of special procedures mandate holders in 2005, it was agreed to establish a Coordination Committee (CC). The Committee's main function is to seek to assist coordination among mandate holders and to act as a bridge between them and the OHCHR, the broader UN human rights framework, and civil society, promoting the standing of the special procedures system.

The mandate of the CC has evolved since its creation, especially in respect to developments at the Human Rights Council and increasing dialogue and cooperation between mandate-holders. The CC is tasked with the following functions, among others:

  • Enhancing the effectiveness and independence of mandate holders and facilitating their work;
  • Being available to mandate holders to share experience concerning methods of work;
  • Raising the concerns of mandate-holders in discussions of the Human Rights Council, in particular ensuring that the concerns of the Special Procedures system are taken into account, and reporting on the developments and progress in this regard;
  • Proactively identifying issues of concern to groups of mandates and facilitating joint action on cross-cutting issues or issues of shared concern;
  • Exchanging information and keeping mandate holders informed of the activities carried out by colleagues;
  • Encouraging States to cooperate with Special Procedures;
  • Identifying innovative ways to raise awareness about special procedures and their work;
  • Proposing a draft agenda for the Annual Meeting of the Special Procedures and presenting a report on its activities to the Meeting.

MEMBERS AND SECRETARIAT:

2013/2014: Mr. Chaloka Beyani (Chair), Mr. Olivier de Frouville, Ms, Sheila B, Keetharuth, Mr. Tomás Ojea Quintana, Ms. Frances Raday, and Ms. Farida Shaheed (ex-officio)

2012/2013: Mr. Michel Forst (Chair), Ms. Gabriela Knaul, Mr. Chaloka Beyani, Mr. François Crépeau, Mr. Puvan Selvanathan, Ms. Farida Shaheed

2011/2012: Farida Shaheed (Chair), Michel Forst, Kamala Chandrakirana, Najat Maalla M`jid, Juan Mendez, Jeremy Sarkin

2010/2011: Najat Maalla M'jid (Chair), Catarina de Albuquerque, Shamsul Bari, Githu Muigai, Mirjana Najcevska and Raquel Rolnik

2009/2010: Santiago Corcuera (Chair), Joy Ezeilo, Frank La Rue, Najat Maalla M’jid, Manfred Nowak and Asma Jahangir (ex-officio).

2008/2009: Asma Jahangir (Chair), Olivier De Schutter, Cephas Lumina, Maria Magdalena Sepúlveda, Gulnara Shahinian and Gay McDougall (ex-officio).

2007/2008: Gay McDougall (Chair), Miloon Kothari, Okechukwu Ibeanu, Vernor Muñoz Villalobos, Yakin Ertürk, and Vitit Muntarbhorn (ex-officio).

2006/2007: Vitit Muntarbhorn (Chair), Gay McDougall, Amada Benavides de Perez, Asma Jahangir, Charlotte Abaka and Philip Alston (ex-officio).

2005/2006: Philip Alston (Chair), Sigma Huda, Ghanim Alnajjar, Rodolfo Stavenhagen and Leila Zerrougui.

The Coordination Committee is elected by the Annual Meeting of Special Procedures mandate holders, which takes place in June. The Chair of the previous Coordination Committee remains on the Committee for a further year, as ex-officio member. In electing the members of the Committee, mandate holders take into account the need for regional and gender balance, as well as for a balanced representation of thematic and country special procedures, to the extent possible.

The CC is supported in its work by the Special Procedures Branch of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.


ACTIVITIES

Since its establishment, the Coordination Committee discussed or took action in relation to the following issues, among others:

  • Institution-building process of the Human Rights Council: review of mandates and selection of mandate holders
  • Participation of mandate holders in regular and special sessions of the Human Rights Council
  • Special Procedures Annual Meetings: preparation of discussions  on thematic issues and working methods
  • Implementation of the Code of conduct
  • Working methods: Revision of the Manual of special procedures and Communications to Governments
  • Joint missions/reports
  • Interaction with Treaty Bodies, NGOs and UN/external partners
  • Briefings for Member States, regional groups and other groupings
  • Cooperation and consultations between mandate holders

Major activities undertaken or initiated by the CC since its inception include:

Outreach

Open letter of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures in advance of the Geneva II conference on the conflict in Syria, press release | open letter (21 January 2014)

Open Letter of special procedures mandate holders on the High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development - press release and open letter - (2 October 2013)

Open letter from the Coordination Committee of the Special Procedures on the draft ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (18 November 2012)

An Open Letter from the Coordination Committee of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council on the high-level meeting on the rule of law at the national and international levels (14 August 2012)

Statements of the Coordination Committee and joint statements on behalf of all mandate holders

Statement of Chaloka Beyani, Chairperson of the Coordination Committee, at the 20th Special Session of the HRC on the Central African Republic, (20 January 2014)

Statement of the United Nations Special Procedures Mandate Holders on the occasion of the Human Rights Day (10 December 2013)

Statement of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures on the situation in Egypt (16 August 2013)

Statement of Chaloka Beyani, Chairperson of the Coordination Committee on the break-in of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression's office (2 August 2013)

Joint statement of special procedures on the Twentieth Anniversary of the VDPA, 26 June 2013

Statement of Christof Heyns Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (29 May 2013)

Statement delivered on behalf of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures mandate-holders of the United Nations Human Rights Council by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Mr. Chaloka Beyani (29 May 2013)

Statement on the occasion of the International Women's Day 8 March 2013

Statement by the Chair of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures, Mr. Michel Forst, on behalf of all Special Procedures mandate holders at the High-level panel on human rights mainstreaming at the twenty-second session of the Human Rights Council (1 March 2013)

Statement by Mr. Juan Ernesto Mendez at the seventeenth Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic (22 August 2011)

Statement by Mr. Olivier De Schutter at the sixteenth Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic (29 April 2011)

Statement by Mr. José -Luis Gómez del Prado at the fifteenth Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (25 February 2011)

The Coordination Committee also initiates the annual statements of special procedures on the occasion of Human Rights Day (10 December) (8 December 2010)

Statement by Mr. Shamsul Bari at the first meeting of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on the Review of the Work and Functioning of the Human Rights Council (26 October 2010)

Statement by Mr. Michel Forst, Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, and Mr. Santiago Corcuera, Chair of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures, urge international support for Haiti following earthquake (13 Janauary 2010)

Statement by Ms. Magdalena Sepulveda, on behalf of all Special Procedures mandate holders, at the 11th Special session of the Human Rights Council (26 May 2009)

Statement of the Chair of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures, Ms. Asma Jahangir, at the Durban Review Conference (23 April 2009)

Statement by Ms. Manuela Carmena Castrillo, on behalf of all Special Procedures mandate holders (28 November 2008)

Statement by Mr. Miloon Kothari, Coordination Committee of Special Procedures at the sixth session of the Human Rights Council (10 December 2007)

Statement of the Chair of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures, Gay MacDougall, at the fifth session of the Human Rights Council (22 June 2007)

Statement of the Chair of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures, Vitit Muntarbhorn at the second session of the Human Rights Council (28 September 2006)

Statement of the Chair of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures, Vitit Muntarbhorn at the first session of the Human Rights Council (23 June 2006)

Media releases of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures

2 January 2009
17 December 2008
8 December 2008

The Coordination Committee also initiates the annual statements of special procedures on the occasion of Human Rights Day (10 December):

9 December 2009
8 December 2008
10 December 2007


Contributions to the institution-building of the Human Rights Council

Participation of the Coordination Committee in consultations regarding the review of mandates and participation of mandate holders in the review process 2006-8

The Coordination Committee played an active role during the process of the review of mandates conducted in 2007 by the Human Rights Council Working Group on the issue of reviewing and, where necessary, improving and rationalizing all mandates, mechanisms, functions and responsibilities in order to maintain a system of special procedures, expert advice and a complaint procedure of the Human Rights Council. The Coordination Committee also contributed to the subsequent process of the Review, Rationalization and Improvement of mandates undertaken by the Council in 2008. The aim was to ensure that the process of review of mandates would result in a more effective and strengthened system of special procedures.  At the second and forth session of the Human Rights Council, the CC held meetings with the President of the Human Rights Council, the facilitators of the institution-building working groups of the HRC, and the coordinators of regional groups to discuss issues concerning the review of mandates. The Chair of the CC also participated in the meetings of the HRC Working Group on the review of mandates.The CC encouraged other special procedures mandate holders to participate in the meetings of the Working Group on the review of mandates that took place in November 2006, February and April 2007.

Coordination and Drafting of the Coordination Committee's response on the draft Code of Conduct

The Chair and other members of the Coordination Committee held meetings with mandate holders to discuss the position of mandate holders on the review of special procedures mandates and the Code of Conduct. In this regard a “Note by the Special Procedures' Coordination Committee in Response to Discussions on a Code of Conduct and Annex: Possible Elements of a Code of Conduct” was submitted to the President of the Council and made public in April 2007. The Commmittee also engaged proactively with Council members throughout the negotations on the draft Code.

Selection and appointment procedure for mandate holders:

Coordination and Drafting of the Coordination Committee's imputs on the technical criteria for placing candidates in the public list

The chair of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures sent a letter to the President of the Human Rights Council providing inputs of the members of the Coordination Committee on the technical criteria for placing candidates in the public list in September 2007.

Contributions of stakeholders to deliberations of the Consultative Group

The Coordination Committee made proactive use of the opportunities provided to stakeholders in para 51 of HRC resolution 5/1 on the institution-building of the Human Rights Council and submitted comments of current or outgoing mandate holders to the Consultative Group to help it determine the necessary expertise, experience, skills, and other relevant requirements for several of the mandates under consideration. In relation to the established mandate on cultural rights, the Committee provided its views at the request of the Consultative Group.

Working Methods

Internal Advisory Procedure to Review Practices and Working Methods

During the 14th Annual Meeting of Special Procedures mandate-holders authorized the Coordination Committee to draft and present to its fifteenth Meeting an appropriate procedure by which the Code of Conduct and other relevant documents, including the Manual of the United Nations Human Rights Special Procedures may best be implemented to enhance the effectiveness and independence both of the Special Procedures system as a whole and also of individual mandate-holders. In the meantime the Coordination Committee was authorized to give appropriate consideration to any matter concerning the working methods of mandate-holder which may be brought to its attention. The CC has followed up on discussions on special procedures methods of work and accountability procedures, and established an interim advisory procedure to review practices and working methods.

At the 15th annual meeting in June 2008, mandate-holders discussed the interim procedure in the light of developments over the past year, and adopted the final advisory procedure to review practices and working methods.

Manual

The Manual of Special Procedures was first elaborated by mandate holders in 1999.  At the 13th Annual Meeting of Special Procedures, mandate-holders agreed to invite comments on their draft revised Manual from Governments, civil society organizations, independent experts and other stakeholders. At the 14th annual meeting, participants decided to ask a number of mandate-holders, through the Coordination Committee, to look into the comments, as well as into the implications of the Resolution 5/1 and 5/2 adopted by the HRC, to revise the Manual accordingly and to present an updated draft for discussion at the 15th Annual Meeting. At this meeting, held in June 2008, special procedures mandate holders adopted the Manual of the UN special procedures, which provides guidelines on the working methods of special procedures mandate holders.

Joint communications report

At the 16th Annual Meeting of Special Procedures, mandate-holders decided to produce a joint, web-based communications report.  Pending technical adjustments to be undertaken by the Secretariat, this report could be submitted at the earliest to the 15th session of the Human Rights Council in 2010.

Enhanced interaction between the Special Procedures and the Human Rights Council

Following discussions with the Chair of the Coordination Committee in November 2008, the former President of the Human Rights Council, H.E. Ambassador Uhomoibhi, extended an invitation, through the Committee, for Special Procedures mandate holders to be represented at every special session of the Human Rights Council. 

The Chair of the Coordination Committee also engages in discussions with the President on how to enhance the constructive dialogue between Member States and mandate holders during and outside of Council sessions.


BACKGROUND:

REPORTS ON ANNUAL MEETINGS OF SPECIAL PROCEDURES MANDATE HOLDERS

Report of the Twelfth meeting of Special Rapporteurs/Representatives, Independent Experts and Chairs of Working Groups of the Special Procedures of the Commission on Human Rights and of the Advisory Services Programme (E/CN.4/2006/4)

[Excerpts:]

B. Enhanced coordination

The Meeting agreed to establish a Coordination Committee, whose principal role will be to contribute to the ability of the individual experts to carry out their mandates in the most effective way and to promote the standing of the Special Procedures system within the broader framework of the United Nations and its human rights programs. It was agreed that the Coordination Committee for 2005-06 would consist of: Philip Alston (Chair of the annual meeting), Sigma Huda (Rapporteur of the annual meeting), Ghanim Alnajjar, Rodolfo Stavenhagen, and Leila Zerrougui.

The Committee's proposals will be of a recommendatory nature, designed to play a facilitative role. The Committee will have no role in relation to the substantive issues being dealt with by each special procedure. Its overall role will be limited in order to avoid an excessive workload for its members and to ensure the independence and autonomy of mandate holders.

The mandate will be reviewed by the meeting of special procedures in 2006 in light of experience in the first year.

The Committee's main function is to seek to assist coordination among mandate holders and to act as a bridge between them and the OHCHR, the broader UN human rights framework, and civil society.

Consequently, it should play a role in:

(a) Enhancing the effectiveness and independence of mandate holders and facilitating their work;

(b) Being available to mandate holders to share experience concerning methods of work;

(c) Ensuring that the concerns of the Special Procedures system are taken into account in the reform process, and reporting on the developments and progress in this regard;

(d) Proactively identifying issues of concern to groups of mandates and facilitating joint action on cross-cutting issues or issues of shared concern;

(e) Structuring the exchange of information and in particular keeping mandate holders informed of the activities carried out by colleagues; and

(f) Proposing a draft agenda for the Annual Meeting of the Special Procedures and presenting a report to the Meeting.

The Coordination Committee will not be a policy making body, nor will it set priorities or have a role in relation to substantive issues, except to express the collective concerns of the experts. It will not deal with issues of resources available to individual Special Procedures.

The Coordination Committee will consist of five members, including the Chair and the Rapporteur of the annual meeting. The Chair and the Rapporteur will select three more members from a list of nominees submitted to them by mandate holders. Those members shall be selected with a view to ensuring appropriate balance and diversity in terms of country and thematic mandates, geographical balance, gender, and experience in the special procedure system. There should be some continuity over time in the composition of the Committee.

The Coordination Committee members should be in touch via internet and conference calls. If need be, they should meet at an appropriate time during the course of the year, and should meet informally one day before the annual meeting. The Committee should oversee the development of a more effective system of communicating among mandate-holders involving an interactive webpage or ‘blog' open only to the experts themselves. The Coordination Committee needs to be provided with sufficient secretariat assistance so that the workload of the relevant mandate holders is only minimally increased.

Report of the Thirteenth meeting of Special Rapporteurs/Representatives, Independent Experts and Chairs of Working Groups of the Special Procedures of the Commissioner on Human Rights and of the Advisory Services Programme (A/HRC/4/43)

[Excerpts:]

II. THE ACTIVITIES AND FUNCTIONS OF THE COORDINATION COMMITTEE

The outgoing chair of the Coordination Committee (CC) briefed participants on the activities of the CC. He reported on an exchange held by members of the CC with the High Commissioner the previous day, during which the role of special procedures in the context of the Human Rights Council and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was addressed.

Concerning the Manual of Special Procedures, which was adopted by the annual meeting in 1999, the CC had worked on an initial revision and updated the Manual to reflect the evolving practice of special procedures.

The Manual is intended to be a living document to be updated regularly. It is meant to provide guidance to mandate-holders. It was decided that after a preliminary discussion at the present annual meeting, mandate-holders, in a spirit of transparency, would call for comments on the draft from governments, civil society organizations, treaty bodies' experts and all other stake-holders in a period of 4 months. The CC would then go through the different comments to revise the manual accordingly. It would also issue an explanatory memorandum on major approaches in the comments, as well as reactions to them. The new draft would be circulated a month ahead of the 14 th meeting which should adopt the new manual. The new manual would be made public for reasons of transparency. Some participants stressed that the circulation of the manual would also serve educational purposes and would raise awareness about the role of special procedures.

The majority of participants expressed support for a stronger and more proactive role of the CC which would facilitate the interaction between special procedures and the HRC and increase synergies between mandate-holders. It would also ensure that mandate-holders speak with one voice, which is particularly important at a time where fundamental reforms, which could have an impact on the role of special procedures, are being discussed. Some participants stressed that while it was agreeable that there should be a mechanism of coordination this should not lead to conformity.

There was general agreement on the following points: the outgoing chair of the CC, or another member, should become an ex officio member of CC; due consideration should be given to geographical representation and gender balance in the elections of members; there should be a rotation system; the CC should be appointed for a one-year term; in case of vacancies, these should be filled through electronic consultations with all mandate-holders; the CC would as appropriate seek advice and assistance from other mandate-holders; the CC should not be a substitute for bilateral consultations between mandateholders and other institutions; the CC should respect the independence of mandate-holders; and the CC should circulate updates on its activities through e-mail.

In terms of the functions to be performed by the CC, several proposals were made, including: the participation of the CC in consultations regarding the review of mandates; bringing into the discussion with the HRC the concerns of mandate-holders, including the issue of cooperation with special procedures; advocating for more resources for special procedures in the context of the reform; identifying innovative ways to raise awareness about special procedures and their work; taking action in a proactive manner to ensure that the “rationalization” of mandates does not result in an erosion of the effectiveness of the system.

Report of the Fourteenth meeting of Special Rapporteurs/Representatives, Independent Experts and Chairs of Working Groups of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council and of the Advisory Services Programme (A/HRC/7/29)

[Excerpts:]

II. ACTIVITIES OF THE COORDINATION COMMITTEE

The outgoing Chair, Vitit Muntarbhorn, briefed participants on the activities of the Coordination Committee under his chairmanship.

The first thread of activities of the CC was related to interaction with the Human Rights Council and other stake-holders with regard to the institution building process. The aim was to ensure that the review of mandates would result in a more effective and strengthened system of special procedures. In this regard, t he Chair of the CC delivered two statements on behalf of the Special Procedures' mandate holders at the first and second sessions of the Human Rights Council.

At the second and fourth sessions of the Human Rights Council, the CC held meetings with the President of the Human Rights Council, the facilitators of the institution-building working groups of the HRC, and the coordinators of regional groups. The Chair gave a public briefing on 29 March 2007 in Geneva . During the final session of the Working Group on the Review of Mandates, in April 2007, the Chair of the CC again held meetings with the President of the Human Rights Council and other stake-holders.

The second thread of activities was related to facilitating cooperation among mandate-holders. The CC held two meetings, in Geneva and New York, and telephone conferences about every six weeks. Mandate-holders had been consulted by e-mail, telephone and other means on various occasions, with a view to facilitating cooperation and a common response to issues that arose during the year.

The third thread of activities referred to interaction with civil society. Throughout the year the CC had received comments and inputs from the civil society and had engaged in a fruitful discussion with several NGOs on issues of common interest, including the institution building process.

The outgoing Chair outlined a number of challenges which the annual meeting, and the new CC, would have to address, including: issues arising from the institution building process, including implementation of the Code of Conduct; the finalization of the special procedures manual; the analysis of protection gaps; the facilitation of an increasing number of joint activities; and the definition of the role and functions of the Coordination Committee in the new framework.

Report of the Fifteenth meeting of Special Rapporteurs/Representatives, Independent Experts and Chairs of Working Groups of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council and of the Advisory Services Programme (A/HRC/7/29)

[Excerpts:]

III. ACTIVITIES OF THE COORDINATION COMMITTEE

The outgoing Chair briefed participants on the activities of the Committee under her  Chairship. She outlined a number of challenges that the new Committee had addressed since the previous annual meeting and that the special procedures were facing. These included the institution-building process under Council resolution 5/1, the implementation of the code of conduct adopted by the Council in its resolution 5/2, the revision of the manual of special procedures, the development by the Committee of an internal advisory procedure and the facilitation of an increasing number of joint activities.

The first thread of activities of the Committee related to interaction with the Council and other stakeholders with regard to the review of special procedures mandates by the Council. The aim was to ensure that the review of mandates would result in a more effective and strengthened system of special procedures. The second thread of activities related to the selection and appointment procedures mandate-holders; the Committee had submitted a letter to the President of the Council reflecting its views regarding the technical requirements for eligible candidates for mandate-holders. In that regard, at the sixth and seventh sessions of the Council, the Chair of the Committee held meetings with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the President of the Council, members of the consultative group, the coordinators of regional groups and representatives of non-governmental organizations. Through these meetings, the Committee had focused on the independence of the special procedures while articulating its views and trying to help develop confidence in the system of special procedures as a whole.

It was noted that the President’s statement adopted by the Council on 18 June 2008 on the terms of office of mandate-holders referred to compliance of mandate-holders with the code of conduct. It also acknowledged the Committee as a body representing the special procedures. Participants stressed that the new procedure would need to be applied transparently, fairly and non-selectively, consistent with the independence and the integrity of the special procedures as a whole, and that these same purposes were served by the internal advisory procedure set up under the auspices of the Committee.

 The third thread of activities concerned the finalization of the special procedures manual. A draft was prepared by a task force and the Committee taking into account the comments submitted by stakeholders as well as the code of conduct adopted by the Council. It was sent to all mandate-holders for their comments. A final draft was prepared incorporating all comments received for discussion at the fifteenth annual meeting with a view to its adoption by all mandate-holders.

The Committee held some meetings in Geneva and telephone conferences about every six weeks. Mandate-holders had been consulted by e-mail, telephone and other means on various occasions, with a view to facilitating cooperation and a common response to issues that arose during the year.

Report of the Sixteenth meeting of Special Rapporteurs/Representatives, Independent Experts and Chairs of Working Groups of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council and of the Advisory Services Programme (A/HRC/12/47)

[Excerpts:]

III. ACTIVITIES OF THE COORDINATION COMMITTEE

The outgoing Chair briefed participants on the activities of the Committee under her Chairship and suggested further discussion on how best to guarantee the independence of mandate holders. She thanked all mandate holders for their valuable contributions to its work, as well as for the encouragement and confidence expressed over the past year. The Committee also gratefully acknowledged the professional and efficient support provided by OHCHR.

The main activities of the Committee in 2008/09 related to interaction with the Council and other stakeholders with regard to special procedures’ involvement in the work of the Council, including its special sessions; the safeguarding of the independence of special procedures; the review of special procedures mandates; and the selection and appointment of mandate holders. The Chair of the Committee and members had engaged in dialogue with the Council and other stakeholders. The Chair, inter alia, held meetings with the High Commissioner, the Deputy High Commissioner, the President of the Council, members of the Consultative Group and coordinators of the Council’s regional and other groups during the tenth session of the Council and on other occasions. During those meetings, the Chair had stressed the importance of the effectiveness and the independence of the special procedures system and the need for greater support by States for the work of the special procedures.

Regarding working methods, the former Chair noted that the final version of the Manual of Operations of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council was made public in September 2009. No objections had been raised formally through the Internal Advisory Procedure since the adoption of the Manual at the fifteenth meeting in June 2008. The Chair had engaged in discussions with the President of the Council regarding concerns about the apparent lack of commitment by some States to cooperate, with improper language used by those States in their interaction with special procedures mandate holders.

Participants asserted that the Committee should have an even more strategic and active role in promoting the effectiveness and independence of the system and ensuring constructive dialogue with the Human Rights Council, notably in relation to the implementation and interpretation of the Code of Conduct.

The Committee held a meeting in Geneva and telephone conferences about every two months. Mandate holders had been consulted by email, telephone and other means on various occasions, with a view to facilitating cooperation and responses to issues that had arisen during the year.

Report of the Seventeenth meeting of Special Rapporteurs/Representatives, Independent Experts and Chairpersons of Working Groups of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/15/44)

[Excerpts:]

III. ACTIVITIES OF THE COORDINATION COMMITTEE

The former Chair of the Coordination Committee briefed participants on the activities of the Committee in 2009/2010 and made suggestions on how to strengthen the special procedures system. He thanked all mandate holders for their valuable contributions, as well as for their encouragement and confidence throughout the year.

The former Chair recalled that there had been numerous developments in relation to the mandate, role and functions of the Committee since 2005, and the Committee had taken a more proactive role to facilitate the interaction between special procedures, States and the Council, and increase collaboration and information-sharing between mandates to reinforce the system of special procedures. The Manual of Operations of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council had been revised; a more systematic approach to situations, especially in the context of crises, where collective responses by special procedures could be justified and desirable had been developed, and an increasing number of joint activities were being implemented. The Code of Conduct had been addressed through the Internal Advisory Procedure (IAP) on practices and working methods, which allows any stakeholder, including States and mandate holders, to bring issues to the attention of the Committee for advice and guidance.

The former Chair informed participants that during 2009/2010 action was taken in relation to the following issues: the selection procedure of new mandate holders; orientation sessions for new mandate holders; participation of special procedures in special sessions of the Council; facilitation of dialogue among mandate holders and States; guidance on working methods, including implementation of the Code of Conduct and the Internal Advisory Procedure; coordination of joint statements, including press releases; interaction with the President of the HRC, the members of the Consultative Group, other stakeholders, and the OHCHR in relation to a number of other thematic and country-related issues; and preparation of the annual meeting of mandate holders. It was noted that between 2009 and 2010, the IAP has been activated on two occasions by mandate holders. The outcome of the process had been communicated to those mandate holders, as well as to the HRC President.

Participants expressed deep appreciation for the work of the former Chair and other members of the Committee and wished the new Committee well. They agreed that when the next CC will be constituted, there would be a call for expressions of interest. They noted the need for regular and strengthened engagement by the Committee with the Council over the next year and referred to the upcoming Council review as an opportunity for the Committee. They stressed the importance of strengthening the special procedures system through the forthcoming review, and discussed concerns regarding the application of the Code of Conduct, in particular allegations of violations considered unjustified or unsubstantiated. The linkages between the special procedures system and the universal periodic review (UPR) were also highlighted, in particular the positive impact of the UPR in cases where mandates had been given access to countries for official visits. Participants encouraged the new Committee to explore substantive involvement in and participation by special procedures during the second cycle of the UPR.

The former Chair thanked the Special Procedures Branch of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for its support to the Committee and for keeping mandate holders informed about developments at the Council throughout the year.