Impact of the work of Special Procedures: Human rights standard setting


Engagement with States and other stakeholders leads to successful development and adoption of Abidjan Principles on the obligations of States to provide public education

The Special Rapporteur on the right to education engaged with States, intergovernmental organizations, civil society, and other stakeholders during a three-year consultative process to develop the Abidjan Principles on the human rights obligations of States to provide public education and to regulate private involvement in education. The Abidjan Principles, which were successfully adopted on 13 February 2019 during the Adopting Conference held in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, provide key guidance on fulfilling the right to education, particularly in the context of the growing privatization of education. Many stakeholders, such as the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, have recognized the Abidjan Principles as a reference tool for implementing the right to education. The Human Rights Council also referred to the Principles in its resolution 41/16 on the right to education.

Other Impact: Facilitating Dialogue and/or Coalition Building and Human Rights Mainstreaming – United Nations and its Bodies and Agencies & Regional Mechanisms


Working Group on Discrimination Against Women and Girls contributes to human rights standard setting by the UN Human Rights Committee

In October 2017, the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls submitted a written submission to the UN Human Rights Committee on its General Comment No. 36 on the right to life, warning that the current formulation with regard to termination of pregnancy could lead to a regressive interpretation of article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, setting back the considerable progress made by UN human rights mechanisms in recognizing women's human rights to dignity, autonomy, highest attainable standard of health and respect for private life on a basis of equality with men, without discrimination. This has contributed to the progressive outcome of the final general comment.

Other Impact: Human Rights Mainstreaming – United Nations and its Bodies and Agencies


Proposed definition on prolonged solitary confinement reflected in Mandela Rules on treatment of prisoners and leads to successful court outcomes in the United Kingdom and the United States of America

In 2011, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment presented an interim report on solitary confinement to the 66th session of UN General Assembly, which, among other things, defined prolonged solitary confinement as solitary confinement exceeding 15 days (A/66/268, para. 26). The Special Rapporteur's proposed definition was then adopted at the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (Crime Commission) conference in May 2015 and reflected in the text of the "Revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners", adopted as the "Mandela Rules" by the UN General Assembly in December 2015 (A/RES/70/175, Rules 43-45). The Special Rapporteur's 2011 interim report was also cited in a United Kingdom Supreme Court (Shahid v. Scotland, October 2015) in a unanimous decision finding that solitary confinement as applied to the defendant was illegal. The Special Rapporteur also acted as an expert witness in a United States District Court case in California on the international standards applicable to solitary confinement based on his 2011 interim report. The case settled in September 2015, resulting in 90 per cent of the inmates in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay and other California prisons being moved into the general prison population.

Other Impact: Contribution to Governmental and/or Judicial Processes, Human Rights Mainstreaming – United Nations and its Bodies and Agencies, Policy Reform, and Prevention and/or Cessation of Human Rights Violations