9th April 2014, Washington DC
Ted Piccone from the Brookings Institution (pictured, right) today presented a copy ofthe new URG-Brookings Institution policy report on Special Procedures to the Chair of the Coordination Committee, Professor Chaloka Beyani. The policy report, entitled ‘Special Procedures: Determinants of Influence‘ analyses the emergence and the contemporary effectiveness of the UN’s system of independent human rights experts, and presents a series of key policy recommendations for strengthening the mechanisms to better face the challenges of the 21st century. A number of the recommendations are directed at the Special Procedure Coordination Committee which is chaired by Professor Beyani, the current Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
The presentation to the Chair of the Coordination Committee comes after the policy report was officially launched last month at a meeting at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, on the sidelines of the 25th session of the Human Rights Council. The launch was attended by over a hundred senior policymakers and opinion-formers from states, NGOs and the UN.
The United Nations’ independent human rights experts – known as the “special procedures” – are considered by many to be the crown jewel of the international human rights system. Since their establishment in 1967, they have grown into one of the international community’s most important tools for promoting and protecting human rights. Today, there are almost fifty separate special procedure mandates covering a wide-range of thematic and country-specific issues, with more in the pipeline.
In their policy report, Ted Piccone and Marc Limon evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the special procedure system, identify the structural determinants that drive their effectiveness, explore why past systemic reform has failed and make recommendations to relevant stakeholders to strengthen the system as it continues to grow.
The report puts forth a series of recommendations to strengthen the effectiveness of the special procedures, including:
- Establish a group of friends of the special procedures to help support the mechanism through cross-regional statements and resolutions and leading cooperation by example;
- Maintain and strengthen self-regulating features of the Special Procedures Coordinating Committee, including updating the manual to reflect social media trends and addressing complaints around the code of conduct;
- Develop new tools to respond to human rights situations, like rapid deployment mechanisms with a standing roster of experts to make site visits;
- Provide objective information on state cooperation with special procedures and develop regular reporting on follow-up and implementation of special procedure recommendations, along with resources for technical assistance and agenda time for debate and presentation of best practices;
- Expand regular U.N. budget support to special procedures, reduce earmarking of voluntary contributions and improve transparency of both U.N. and non-U.N. financing in direct support of a mandate;
- Deploy new technology to make the special procedure communications system relevant, credible and user-friendly to human rights defenders and states.
Notes to editors
For more information contact Marc Limon at firstname.lastname@example.org or +41 79 778 59 44
Click here to access the report and research documents.
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