A Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. This position is honorary and the expert is not United Nations staff nor paid for his/her work.
The Special Rapporteurs are part of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.
For more on Special Rapporteurs, please refer to Fact Sheet N° 27: Seventeen Frequently Asked Questions about United Nations Special Rapporteurs.
At its twenty-ninth session in June 2015, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 29/5 on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, in which it mandated the Advisory Committee to undertake a study which reviews the implementation of the principles and guidelines for the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members; to submit a report containing practical suggestions for the wider dissemination and more effective implementation of the principles and guidelines in order to eliminate discrimination and the stigma associated with leprosy; and to promote, protect and respect the human rights of those affected by leprosy, and their family members, to the Council at its thirty-fifth session (June 2017).
The Human Rights Council established the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members at its thirty-fifth session in June 2017 (resolution 35/9) and appointed Ms. Alice Cruz (Portugal) as Special Rapporteur in November 2017. At its 44th session in July 2020, the Human Rights Council extended the mandate for another three years (resolution 44/6).
The Special Rapporteur is mandated by HRC resolution 44/6 :
(a) To follow up and report on progress made and measures taken by States for the effective implementation of the principles and guidelines for the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members for the realization of the enjoyment of human rights by persons affected by leprosy and their family members in all regions of the world, and to make recommendations to the Human Rights Council in this regard;
(b) To engage in dialogue and consult with States and other relevant stakeholders, including United Nations bodies, specialized agencies, in particular the World Health Organization, funds and programmes, other intergovernmental organizations, regional human rights mechanisms, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations to identify, exchange and promote good practices relating to the realization of the rights of persons affected by leprosy and their family members, and to their participation as equal members of society with a view to achieving a leprosy-free world;
(c) To raise awareness of the rights of persons affected by leprosy and their family members and to combat stigmas, prejudices and harmful traditional practices and beliefs that hinder their enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms and their participation in society on an equal basis with others;
(d) To report annually to the Human Rights Council and to report also to the General Assembly, starting from its seventy-sixth session.
In the discharge of her mandate the Special Rapporteur:
a) Transmits urgent appeals and letters of allegation to Member States on alleged violations of the rights of persons affected by leprosy and their family members. The Special Rapporteur summarises these communications as well as replies received from Governments in an annual report submitted to the Human Rights Council.
b) Undertakes fact-finding country visits.
c) Submits annual reports covering activities relating to the mandate to the Human Rights Council (starting in 2018) and the General Assembly (starting in 2021).