Special Procedures

The Special Procedures are individual independent human rights experts, or groups of such experts, who report and advise on human rights issues related to a particular theme or a specific country.

Unlike the Treaty Bodies, Special Procedures can examine the situation in all countries, unless their mandate is focused on a single state.

As of March 2017, the Human Rights Council oversees 43 thematic and 13 country-specific mandates.

Special Procedures may be referred to by various names, including Special Rapporteurs, Special Representatives, Working Groups, and Independent Experts.

Their responsibilities vary, but include: awareness-raising efforts, country visits,  making recommendations to states, conducting thematic studies, and organising expert consultations or seminars related to their mandate.
Additionally, Special Procedures mechanisms can contact Governments directly when they receive allegations of human rights violations through a communications procedure.

The reports of Special Procedures, including compilations of the communications sent to governments, are presented annually to the Human Rights Council or to the UN General Assembly. Their tasks are defined in the resolutions creating or extending their mandates.

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How does ILGA engage with the Special Procedures?

Our work enables Special Procedures to examine, monitor, advise, and publicly report on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) issues, and on the situation of LGBTI persons across a wide range of human rights.

Thematic mandates

ILGA supports the Special Procedures system by submitting information and reports on particular themes that relate closely to SOGIESC issues.

Country visits

ILGA notifies local LGBTI organisations about upcoming country visits by Special Procedures.
We work with these organisations to ensure that mandate holders are able to meet with them and receive information that is relevant to their mandate.

Meetings with mandate holders

ILGA meets with mandate holders and their teams throughout the year to provide input and guidance on their work, as well as to remain informed of the themes of Special Procedures’ upcoming reports.
On an ongoing basis, we share information with our members and partners on upcoming opportunities to engage with the Special Procedures.
Additionally, when human rights defenders are in Geneva, ILGA organises meetings for them with relevant Special Procedures, staff of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Permanent Missions and non-governmental organisations.

Some examples of our work with the UN Special Procedures

THE INDEPENDENT EXPERT ON VIOLENCE AND DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY

THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON THE RIGHT TO HEALTH

THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON THE RIGHT TO ADEQUATE HOUSING

  • Submission on the link between homelessness and the enjoyment of the right to adequate housing in regard to LGBTI persons.

THE WORKING GROUP ON THE ISSUE OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN IN LAW AND PRACTICE (WGDAW)

Additionally, the UN Programme collaborated with other organisations to urge several Special Procedures to make a statement regarding the resolution on the Protection of the Family. The letter by four mandate holders to the President of the Human Rights Council expressed deep concerns regarding the resolution’s conflicts with international human rights law. ILGA later made a Submission to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide input on Human Rights Council resolution 29/22 on the protection of the family.

 

 

Letters from ILGA to the consultative group

 

(June 2017) Letter in relation to proposed criteria for selection and appointment of members for the UN Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice.

(May 2017) Letter in relation to the appointment of four Special Procedure mandate holders at the Human Rights Council’s 35th regular session.

 

* The Consultative Group is the body which provides recommendations to the Human Rights Council for Special Procedure Mandate holders

(photo by Catkin on Pixabay)

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