Engagement with other parts of the United Nations system and regional mechanisms
In addition to their regular interaction with the United Nations Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, special procedures mandate holders also regularly engage and/or undertake joint activities with other parts of the United Nations system and agencies, programmes and funds as well as with regional mechanisms on various topics related to their mandates.
In recent years, Special procedures mandate holders have engaged and/or undertaken joint activities with, among others, the United Nations Treaty Bodies, Universal Periodic Review, OHCHR, Executive Office of the Secretary-General, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Disability and Accessibility, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, Department of Political Affairs, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, United Nations Peace Building Support Office, Security Council, United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee, Inter-Agency Standing Committee, United Nations Country Teams, MINUSMA, UNAMI, UNAMID, UNDP, UNDSS, OCHA, UNHCR, UN Women, UNESCO, WHO, UNAIDS, ILO, UNICEF, IOM, UNFPA, UNWRA, WFP, FAO, UNCTAD, UNEP, UNHABITAT, UN-Water, United Nations Development Group - Human Rights Working Group, United Nations Partnership to Promote the rights of persons with disabilities.
Special procedures mandate holders have in addition engaged and/or undertaken joint activities with regional mechanisms, including the European Union (European Commission, European External Action Service), Council of Europe, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Inter-American system ( Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights), Organization of American States and African Union (African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.
Below are some examples of these activities and their outcomes both at the international and regional level. More examples can be found in the
annual reports of special procedures.
Intergovernmental forum ||
Outputs and outcome of engagement |
UN Environment Programme (UNEP)|
On 16 August 2019, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) signed a
Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation Between UNEP and OHCHR (MoU) (see
joint press release). While UNEP and OHCHR have had a strong working relationship in the field of human rights and the environment over the past several years, the MoU formalizes and strengthens this collaboration in concrete areas. Specifically, building on past cooperation between Special Procedures and UNEP, the MoU identifies “[s]upport to and collaboration with relevant UN Special Procedures, in particular the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment”, as one of several areas of enhanced cooperation. In addition, UNEP and OHCHR, including Special Procedures, will now cooperate more closely through monitoring, advocacy, and other activities to address the intensifying threats against individuals and communities defending their environmental and land rights in many areas of the world. The enhanced partnership will also encourage greater acceptance by leaders and governments of the human right to a healthy environment with a view toward its global recognition. It will furthermore seek to increase support to national governments to promote human rights-based policies, particularly in terms of sustainable management of natural resources, development planning, and action to combat climate change.
In December 2018, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities participated in an Arria formula meeting of the Security Council on the situation of persons with disabilities in armed conflict –
Read her statement
In March 2018, the Chair of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures sent a letter to the Security Council sharing information about the work of special procedures mandate holders that is deemed pertinent to the work of the Security Council (S/2018/280). The letter illustrates how the work of special procedures, be it thematic or country related) could be of interest to the Security Council and expresses the interest of special procedures in improving their engagement with United Nations bodies, such as the Security Council, with a view to enhancing the promotion and protection of human rights as a key element in the maintenance of international peace and security.
On 21 November 2017, the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in human beings raised awareness, shared her experience and made concrete recommendations on addressing trafficking in persons in conflict situations in the context of maintaining international peace and security, during the United Nations Security Council Open Debate convened the by Italian Presidency. Her views were considered in the unanimously adopted Resolution 2388 (2017) through which the Security Council reiterates its condemnation of trafficking in persons.
In March 2017, the Special Rapporteur on slavery gave a presentation at the Security Council ministerial open debate on trafficking in persons in conflict situations, forced labour, slavery and other similar practices. She called for greater coordination and leadership against slavery and related phenomena and for Council members to ratify and implement international standards, as well as discussing the need to strengthen humanitarian responses to conflict situations and to increase national and international accountability for slavery-related human rights abuses in conflict.
Video link to the Security Council open debate on Conflict-related sexual violence with participation of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children (2 June 2016)
Note on the Security Council open debate on Women, Peace and Security - Displaced Women and Girls: Leaders and Survivors with participation of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of Internally Displaced Persons, 28 October 2014 –
Read his full statement
Note on the Security Council meeting in Arria Formula on Protection of Internally Displaced Persons with participation of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of Internally Displaced Persons, 30 May 2014
Note on the Security Council meeting in Arria Formula on Protecting Journalists with the participation from the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, 13 December 2013 –
Read his full speech
The Commission on the Status of Women
Reports of relevant Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council to be brought to the attention of the Commission on the Status of Women|
Regional forum ||
Outputs and outcome of engagement |
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights|
(Directory of the Special Rapporteurs and experts)
In May 2017, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted resolution 373 endorsing the Regional Action Plan on Albinism in Africa (2017-2021) to address attacks against persons with albinism in Africa, developed by the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism.
On 3 March 2017, together with his counterparts from the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression issued the
Joint Declaration on Freedom of Expression and "Fake News", Disinformation and Propaganda.
Outcome Review of Addis Ababa Roadmap (E |
Final Communiqué of the 55th Ordinary Session, 28 April – 12 May 2014 (E |
"Unity is fundamental in our fight for human rights" stress United Nations and African experts on key anniversary (11 October 2012, news release)
United Nations and African Union special mechanisms on human rights adopt a roadmap for greater cooperation (8 January 2012, news release)
Addis Ababa Roadmap on cooperation between the Special Procedures of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and of the UN Human Rights Council
|Joint thematic dialogue on sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex characteristics between the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and United Nations human rights mechanisms|
Documents related to the dialogue |
Inter American Commission on Human Rights||
Roadmap to enhance collaboration between Special Procedures Mandate-Holders of the Human Rights Council and the Inter American Commission on Human Rights|
IACHR and UN Special Procedures adopt Roadmap to Enhance Collaboration (news release 17 December 2018)
Special Procedures Communications
Introduction to communications
Leaflet on Special procedures communications
E | F |
Online submission to special procedures
System wide information