26th Annual Meeting of special procedures

The 26th Annual Meeting of Special Procedures will take place in Geneva from 17 to 21 June 2019. The Annual Meeting offers mandate holders the opportunity to discuss issues of common interest, coordinate their work and meet with a range of stakeholders, including States and civil society organizations.

This year’s meeting will focus on strategic and policy discussions in light of the challenges faced by the human rights system in general and the special procedures system in particular. The meeting will also take place in the context of several initiatives and reforms in the UN. Attention will be given to the following related topics:

  • Mandate holders will discuss issues related to the implementation of their mandate and their engagement with various stakeholders in this context, in particular States and civil society. They will discuss in particular the issuance of press releases, country visits and related end-of-mission statements, cooperation by States, digital security and the use of social media among others. Mandate holders will discuss issues related to new technologies, artificial intelligence and cyber space.
  • Mandate holders will address issues related to cooperation with States and other stakeholders, instances of personal attacks against mandate holders and of reprisals against those cooperating with special procedures.
  • Mandate holders will explore how they engage with the other parts of the UN system. They will explore the prevention role of special procedures and how they contribute to the prevention mandate of the UN. Mandate holders will also engage with representatives of UN agencies and the RC system with a focus on the SDGs.
  • Mandate holders will have an exchange with representatives of regional human rights mechanisms focusing this year on how human rights recommendations are recorded and their follow-up assessed.
  • Mandate holders will also meet with the High Commissioner, the President of the Human Rights Council, Member States and civil society/NHRIs. The meeting with States will take place on Friday 21 June in the morning in Palais des Nations, Room XXVII. The meeting with civil society will take place the same day in the afternoon.

Civil society organizations are invited to submit relevant information or points for consideration by the special procedures by 14 June 2019, which will serve to inform the discussions. Submissions can be sent to (spannualmeeting@ohchr.org).

During their meeting, special procedures mandate holders discussed opportunities and challenges facing the system of special procedures as well as the related need to adapt their practices and working methods accordingly. These issues were discussed with various stakeholders during the week, including with UN senior representatives, OHCHR senior representatives, the President of the Human Rights Council as well as during an exchange with Member States on 21 June. The exchange with Member States was opened by the newly elected Chair of the Coordination Committee, Mrs. Anita Ramasastry. In her introductory remarks she highlighted the role and responsibilities of special procedures featuring a series of improvements and positive developments related to the system of special procedures, several decisions adopted by consensus during the Annual Meeting in relation to working methods as well as a declaration adopted by mandate holders.