The Human Rights Council replaced the Commission on Human Rights and it mechanisms in 2006 with new mechanisms proper to the Council, e.g. The Confidential Procedure became ‘Complaint Procedure’, The Sub-Commission became ‘Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Council’ The Working group on Slavery was replaced by Special Rapporteur.Most significantly, the HR-Council created a new mechanism, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
Special procedures (SP) is a general name given to the procedures’ mechanisms created by the Commission on Human Rights (and since 2006 by the Human Rights Council) to address specific human rights issues or country situations.
- There are procedures on themes and on countries;
- ‘special rapporteur’, ‘independent expert’, ‘special representative of the Secretary-General’
- or a group of experts called ‘working groups’; they are appointed by the Council.
- The work of the Special Procedures is facilitated by the OHCHR;
- They receive all necessary support (personnel, travel arrangements, research and policy support) but are not paid for their work to ensure their independence, impartiality and objectivity.
Scope of work:
- They report on the specific patterns stated by their mandate (thematic or country issue);
- Send communications to States and other actors (such as individual complaints) bringing alleged violations or abuses to their attention, including urgent appeals or letters seeking clarifications from governments;
- Conduct country visits to investigate or examine the human rights situation
- Organize experts’ consultations
- Gather to develop international HR standards
- Have a role of advocacy and awareness raising
- Provide advice for technical cooperation
- Report at least once a year to the Council as well as the GA.