About Special Procedures
@ UN Photo/JeanMarc Ferre
The special procedures of the Human Rights Council are
independent human rights experts with mandates to report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective. They are non-paid and elected for 3-year mandates that can be reconducted for another three years. As of October 2021, there are 45 thematic and 13 country mandates.
With the support of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), special procedures:
- act on individual cases of reported violations and concerns of a broader nature by sending
communications to States and others
- 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.
Read more about what Special Procedures do
Code of conduct
Manual of Operations
English (PDF, 308KB)
Directory of Special Procedures Mandate Holders
Annual Report 2020 (Advance unedited version)
Facts and figures 2020
How do Special Procedure mandate-holders make a difference?
Special procedure mandate-holders help advance human rights in ways both small and large. They contribute to:
How do they contribute to cross-cutting issues?
Some contemporary issues cut across a wide spectrum of human rights. As a result, many mandate-holders bring specific expertise and recommendations to topics ranging from climate change to new technologies, from migration to COVID-19 and more.
OHCHR has compiled all Special Rapporteur reports that deal with these issues.
Find the compilations on cross-cutting issues here.
Submitting complaints to Special Procedures
Are you a victim or have knowledge of a human rights violations? Do you believe there is policy or legislation in your country that does not respect human rights? You can use the Special Procedures communications process to report this information.
Learn how the
Special Procedures communications process can help you.
Cooperation with the special procedures and acts of intimidation and reprisals
Special procedures can only fulfill their mandates effectively when individuals and groups engage with them without fear of intimidation or reprisal. Yet mandate-holders have noted a rise in instances of intimidation and reprisals against those who cooperated with them. The Coordination Committee established a framework of action to respond to these unacceptable practices.
Learn more about reprisals and the Special Procedure framework of action.