NEW! Fully updated version as of October 2021
ISHR's Practical Guide to the UN Special Procedures provides an overview of the system of independent human rights experts known as the Special Procedures, and the different ways human rights defenders can make use of it to further their human rights causes.
The Special Procedures, often titled Special Rapporteurs, are assigned to investigate and report on the realisation of different rights around the world, or in specific countries. They are one of the most effective international instruments for confronting violations of the rights of individuals and particular groups. These experts have taken action against killings of environmental and land rights defenders, spread understanding of challenges faced by women human rights defenders, shone a light on the situation of LGBTI persons, and helped to expose the risks faced by civil society in highly restrictive environments. Often their independence allows them to discuss issues deemed too politically ‘sensitive’ at the international level. It also enables them to act swiftly and react publicly against human rights violations.
This handbook is intended to be a practical aid to working with the Special Procedures for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and human rights defenders. Our hope is that the information provided in this guide will help NGOs engage more strategically with the Special Procedures to increase the impact of the experts’ work in improving human rights protection around the globe.
Find more tips and examples of how to strategically engage with Special Procedures in the ISHR Academy, ISHR's e-learning space for human rights defenders looking to strengthen their advocacy skills with the UN for greater impact on the ground.