History of the United Nations Special Procedures Mechanism: Origins, Evolution and Reform

by the URG team International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, Policy reports

History of the United Nations Special Procedures Mechanism: Origins, Evolution and Reform

​The United Nations’ independent human rights experts – otherwise known as ‘Special Procedures’ – are considered by many to be, in the words of then United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the ‘crown jewel’ of the international human rights system. From their first appearance in 1967, when the United Nations Commission on Human Rights established an Ad Hoc Working Group to inquire into the …

Health of the Special Procedure system moves to the centre of the Council’s agenda

by the URG team Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

For the first time since the Council’s five-year review in 2011, the 26th session of the Human Rights Council that ended on 27th June saw the health and impact of the Special Procedures mechanism move to the centre of the political stage. States could not resist continuing to add new Special Procedure mandates – the 26th session saw members create a 51st active …

Special Procedure implementation and follow-up: making it real

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

One of the clearest conclusions drawn from the joint URG-Brookings Institution research project on the effectiveness and the future of Special Procedures was that, despite regular reform efforts over the past two decades, follow-up on the implementation of recommendations made by Special Procedures remains ‘negligible’. In interviews conducted for the URG-Brookings Policy Report, numerous mandate-holders acknowledged that ‘follow-up on implementation remains one of our weakest links’. Why is this the case? A sceptic could …

Special Procedures mandate-holders: the new intake

by the URG team Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

After weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations, the member states of the Human Rights Council yesterday moved to appoint 17 new Special Procedure mandate-holders. This was a critical moment for the Special Procedure mechanism, the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the international human rights system, because the mechanism’s effectiveness is heavily reliant on the quality, expertise and reputation of those individuals who …

Chair of Coordination Committee presented with URG-Brookings Institution report on the future of the Special Procedures

by the URG team Prensa

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 …

As number of Special Rapporteur mandates passes the 50 mark, new study highlights need for renewed support and reform

by the URG team Prensa

Wednesday 19th March 2014, Geneva The United Nations’ (UN) independent human rights experts – otherwise known as ‘Special Procedures’ – are considered by many to be, in the words of then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the ‘crown jewel’ of the international human rights system. From their first appearance in 1967 when the Commission on Human Rights established an Ad Hoc …