About the mandate

In 1993, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights established the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.  

After replacing the Commission on Human Rights, the Human Rights Council decided to extend the mandate for another three years in March 2008 (resolution 7/36). The mandate was renewed again for an additional three years in March 2011 (HRC resolution 16/4), March 2014 (resolution 25/2), March 2017 (resolution 34/18) and again in March 2020 (resolution 43/4).  

(a) To gather all relevant information, wherever it may occur, relating to violations of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, discrimination against, threats or use of violence, harassment, persecution or intimidation directed at persons seeking to exercise or to promote the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including, as a matter of high priority, against journalists or other professionals in the field of information;

(b) To seek, receive and respond to credible and reliable information from Governments, non-governmental organizations and any other parties who have knowledge of these cases;

(c) To make recommendations and provide suggestions on ways and means to better promote and protect the right to freedom of opinion and expression in all its manifestations; and

(d) To contribute to the provision of technical assistance or advisory services by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to better promote and protect the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

Working methods

In the discharge of the mandate the Special Rapporteur:

a) Transmits urgent appeals and letters of allegation to Member States on alleged violations of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The Special Rapporteur summarises these communications as well as replies received from Governments in an annual report submitted to the Human Rights Council (See Submitting Complaints).

b) Undertakes fact-finding country visits.

c) Submits annual reports covering activities relating to the mandate to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly (starting in 2010 for the latter).


Special Procedures
​Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and opinion
​Recent thematic reports
​Contact information

Ms. Irene Khan
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
OHCHR-UNOG
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneve 10, Switzerland

Fax: +41 22 917 9006
Email: freedex@ohchr.org

External links