UN Special Procedures at the Human Rights Council

News: In May 2014, CRIN interviewed Maud de Boer-Buquicchio in advance of her appointment as Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

Role: "Special procedures" is the general name given to the mechanisms established by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or particular issues in all parts of the world. So, for example, there is a Special Rapporteur on the sale of children child prostitution and child pornography, a Special Rapporteur on the right to education, and an Independent Expert on minority issues.

How? According to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1, Annex, the following general criteria will be of 'paramount importance' when nominating, selecting and appointing mandate-holders: (a) expertise; (b) experience in the field of the mandate; (c) independence; (d) impartiality; (e) personal integrity; and (f) objectivity.

Due consideration should be given to gender balance and equitable geographic representation, as well as to an appropriate representation of different legal systems. Eligible candidates are highly qualified individuals who possess established competence, relevant expertise and extensive professional experience in the field of human rights (paras. 39-41).

Those entities which may nominate candidates as special procedures mandate-holders according to Council resolution 5/1, Annex, are:

(a) Governments;

(b) Regional Groups operating within the United Nations human rights system;

(c) international organisations or their offices (e.g. the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights);

(d) non-governmental organizations;

(e) other human rights bodies;

(f) individuals

The Consultative Group, established in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 5/1, submits to the President, ‘at least one month before the beginning of the session in which the Council would consider the selection of mandate holders, a list of candidates who possess the highest qualifications for the mandates in question and meet the general criteria and particular requirements'.

When: Appointments of new mandate holders are made on a regular basis, and a significant amount will be made during the Human Rights Council’s 25th Session in March 2014. For more information, visit the link above.

Action: Encouraging all parties to use the channels available for influencing appointments in order to identify the best possible candidates. Further details will be circulated in due course.