Update: 09.01.2013

Special Procedures

The Special Procedures were developed by the Commission for Human Rights. They deal with human rights situations in particular states or a particular, internationally virulent human rights issue. The mandate is therefore either specific to a country or a theme. The elected representatives - these may be individuals (special Rapporteurs) or working groups - consist of independent experts that possess the necessary professional knowledge and may not pursue any personal interest in their role.  All elected representatives must inform the Human Rights Council about their work once a year. On demand, they must lay their research results before the General Assembly.


Elected representatives are mandated to regularly observe a designated human rights situation. They conduct country missions and author studies and offer assistance and council to the state in question. Certain mandates allow the acceptance of particular complaints about the non-compliance with human rights. They may be forwarded to affected states as «letters of allegation».

Country mandates

Country mandates are being followed in the following states: Myanmar, Cambodia, Haiti, Sudan, Somalia, Northern Korea, the Islamic Republic of Iran and in the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as in Syria, Eritrea and Belarus since 2012 and in the Central African Republilc and Mali since 2013. These mandates are mostly unrestricted by time. The mandate in the occupied Palestinian territories is due to end with the end of Israeli occupation.

Thematic mandates

Thematic mandates deal with the global realization of individual rights, the global protection of particular victims or with a specific problem. Currently, about forty thematic mandates are being followed. The mandates date back to the 1980s. They deal with themes such as extrajudicial executions, disappearances, religious freedom and torture. The newest mandates are concerning minority rights, modern forms of slavery, access to potable water or environmental issues, etc.

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