Posts Tagged ‘Special Procedures’

Basic intro to the UN Human Rights Council

February 23, 2022

On 22 February 2022 Imogen Foulkes (a journalist reporting from Geneva for SWI swissinfo.ch as well as the BBC) published a piece: “What can the Human Rights Council do for you?”

Next week the spring session of the UN Human Rights Council begins [see also my: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2022/02/21/guide-to-49th-session-of-human-rights-council-with-human-rights-defenders-focus/]. Geneva will be inundated with the world’s top diplomats and human rights activists, who will wade their way through mountains of reports.  Foulkes brief survey helps to see the essence:

It’s too easy, sometimes, to be overwhelmed by all the paperwork and protocol of the human rights council. The 47 council members sit, day after day, in the vast council chamber, listening to those endless reports, and waiting for their two minutes to speak. 

Of course, the content of the reports is utterly serious; from possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria, Yemen, or Myanmar, to the plight of child soldiers, to violence against women, and racial discrimination. Our world continues, day after day, to flout the human rights standards we’ve all signed on to defend. 

But the very quantity of those reports, the way multiple human rights crises are addressed in a single day, before moving on to the next litany of cruelty and misery, can be exhausting, and, somehow, desensitising. I, and my journalist colleagues at the UN in Geneva, often find it difficult to interest our editors in what the human rights council is doing. Not least because, when those editors ask “so, once they’ve passed the resolution condemning x or y country, what happens then?” our answer has to be “not much”. The council has no power to impose sanctions, it cannot prosecute, its investigators can never apprehend someone they know to be a war criminal, and drag him or her to the International Criminal Court. 

So what’s the point of it? That’s the question we try to answer in this week’s edition of Inside Geneva. We talk to human rights investigators, and to human rights defenders, people who bring their own testimonies of atrocities to the UN, often at great risk to themselves, and, often, because the UN is their last and only hope. 

Andrew Clapham, who is currently a member of the UN team investigating violations in South Sudan, tells us that “The idea that someone has listened to your story, and you have taken your case to the United Nations is incredibly important.” 

But is that enough? Is the UN’s human rights work simply a form of counselling, a way for victims of violations to talk through their trauma? 

Feliciano Reyna, a human rights defender from Venezuela, explains that the UN’s regular reviews of a country’s record, from its upholding of the convention against torture, on women’s rights or the rights of the child, allow human rights defenders to participate – they come to Geneva to present their version of what’s happening in their country. This process, Feliciano tells Inside Geneva has been “absolutely key in advancing our work on human rights and putting Venezuela on the international and local agenda”. 

We also talk to Collette Flanagan, whose son Clinton was shot and killed by Dallas police in 2013. Together with many other US mothers who have lost a child to police violence, Collette brought her case to the UN, because, she told us, her attempts at home to get answers for what had happened to her son, who was unarmed, were “dismissed by…the police department, we couldn’t get any answers to what happened to our child.” 

See also her piece: What does the Human Rights Council mean to victims of atrocities?

Collette’s campaigning resulted, eventually in the UN’s report on the treatment of people of African descent. Presenting that report last year, UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet drew a direct link between slavery and the violence and discrimination inflicted on people of African descent today. She said there was “an urgent need to confront the legacies of enslavement” and called for “amends for centuries of violence and discrimination”, including “formal acknowledgment and apologies, truth-telling processes and reparations in various forms”. 

For Collette, the report was a hugely important sign that even the most powerful country on earth, with its oft repeated promise of “liberty and justice for all”, is not above international scrutiny. 

“The United States is a democracy,” Collette says. “And we are supposed to uphold life, liberty and freedom for every citizen. And that is not happening in the United States. And if those things are not happening in the United States then that is an egregious attack on democracy and human rights and freedom. How can the United Nations not be involved?” 

One of the most disturbing investigations currently underway by UN human rights officers is the Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar, which is examining, among other things, the treatment of the Rohingya Muslim community by Myanmar’s ruling military regime. 

In 2016 and 2017 over a million Rohingya fled appalling violence. When human rights officer Ilaria Ciarla arrived in the refugee camps in Bangladesh to take witness accounts, among them from mothers whose babies had been killed before their eyes, she tells Inside Geneva her initial reaction was “incredulity… is this possible? How can human beings do such horrible things to other human beings?” 

Australian lawyer Chris Sidoti also served on the Fact Finding Mission, and highlights the inherent weakness in the human rights council’s inability to legally hold perpetrators to account. “I still know that the Myanmar butchers who are responsible for what happened may never individually be brought to justice,” he says. 

But, he explains, those UN investigations are quietly growing some teeth. Names of perpetrators, and all the evidence to convict them, is available to courts, national or international, who do have the power to try and convict. 

“We are seeing court cases in the top international courts now, dealing with Myanmar,” he notes. “The International Court of Justice is using our report. The International Criminal Court is using our report.” 

And for Khin Ohmar, who has devoted her life to the struggle for democracy in her native Myanmar, this is a milestone. “Oh yes, that is what I have been working for, there is no other way. We have allowed this military to enjoy blanket impunity for so long, and that must stop,” she says. “These perpetrators [must be] held to account by law, and there is no domestic law available, so now we need international law to hold them to account for all the crimes they have committed against the people of Myanmar.” 

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/what-can-the-human-rights-council-do-for-you-/47368266

UN Special procedures discuss human rights and Covid-19

May 2, 2020

On 30 April 2020 the UN Human Rights Council held a virtual informal conversation on the human rights implications of the COVID-19 crisis with representatives of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures mandate holders.

The special procedures of the Human Rights Council are independent human rights experts with the mandates to report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective. The Coordination Committee, composed of six Special Procedures mandate holders, aims to enhance coordination among mandate holders and to act as a bridge between them, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the broader United Nations human rights framework and civil society.

….Anita Ramasastry, Chairperson of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures, noted that the Coordination Committee had helped create a dedicated COVID-19 web page, which it hoped would become over time a living repository of guidance and advice to States on good practice. The Special Procedures mandate holders had risen to the challenge and through their powerful statements, actions and innovations promoted a human rights-based approach to addressing this crisis, said Ms. Ramasastry. They attempted to help States to ensure that policies and decisions taken during the crisis were consistent with human rights.

Dainius Pûras, Special Rapporteur on the right to health said advances in biomedical sciences were very important to realize the right to health during this pandemic, but equally important were human rights. The way to the effective management of the pandemic was the application of the principles of non-discrimination, participation, empowerment and accountability to all policies. He also stressed the importance of access to reliable and accurate information and the protection of the right to privacy, including in the use of technologies to track the spread of the virus.

In the ensuing discussion, speakers welcomed the guidance provided by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to ensure that States’ responses complied with human rights obligations. They asked what steps had been taken to ensure the lifting of unilateral and illegal coercive measures, which violated human rights. Any measures to counter the pandemic should be necessary and proportionate, pursue legitimate purposes, and comply with international norms. Respect for human rights was vital, not only for the emergency response phase, but also during the post-crisis recovery. Speakers noted that emergency powers had been used to enact repressive measures that may have the effect of silencing dissent. They stressed the importance of upholding economic, social and cultural rights, including issues related to access to housing and food. It was hard to find a more striking example of the interconnectedness of rights than this crisis.

In conclusion, Mr. Pûras said lessons still had to be drawn from this pandemic. However, lots of lessons learned from previous public health crises could be applied today to address the current crisis. The AIDS epidemic, for instance, had shown that a human rights-based approach was most effective. It should also be noted that the current crisis had revealed the weakness of healthcare systems, including in some developed countries, which would have to be addressed.

The webcast of this informal virtual conversation is available on demand on UN Web TV, while summaries of the discussion in English and French can be found on the United Nations Office at Geneva News and Media page.

https://reliefweb.int/report/world/human-rights-council-discusses-human-rights-implications-covid-19-crisis-its-special

How to work with the UN and its Rapporteurs: new ISHR guidance for human rights defenders

December 18, 2019

On 18 November 2019 the ISHR launched its new guide to the UN Special Procedures, an essential tool for human rights defenders seeking to engage more strategically with these experts, for greater impact on the ground.

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. 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. O

Read the Practical Guide to the UN Special Procedures here

You can find more tips and examples of how to 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. Helping human rights defenders strengthen their advocacy skills with the UN

Navigating the UN

An overview of the international human rights system and the importance of civil society engagement

Watch the video

Test your knowledge

Learning Modules

Build your advocacy skills

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ISHR Academy Introduction

A quick start guide to getting the most out of the learning modules developed by ISHR

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UN Human Rights Council

Understand the structure, purpose and mandate of the Human Rights Council and the opportunities for effective engagement

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Special Procedures

Explore the purpose and mandates of the Special Procedures and how you can work with them to strengthen your advocacy. For more see: https://academy.ishr.ch/

Human Rights Defenders issues on the agenda of the next 35th Human Rights Council

June 1, 2017

The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) in Geneva has published again its timely alert to the next Session of the UN Human Rights Council, from 6 to 23 June 2017. 

It is a rich document [https://www.ishr.ch/news/human-rights-council-key-issues-agenda-35th-session-june] and I list here only the items most directly related to Human Rights Defenders:

Thematic areas of interest:

Sexual orientation and gender identity

The first annual report of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity will be presented between 9:00 and 12:00am on Tuesday 6 June. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Uruguay will organise an event on Advancing human rights protection and ending violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity on 9 June from 11:30-13:00 in Room IX.

Reprisals

In a recent letter to the President of the Human Rights Council, ISHR called for urgent attention to be given to cases of reprisals which have not been followed up by the Human Rights Council. One of the most serious instances of reprisal is against Chinese human rights defender Cao Shunli, who died in detention on 14 March 2014 after being detained for her engagement in UN human rights mechanisms. Despite her case being communicated with the Bureau during the three years following her death, there has been no independent investigation or adequate response. ISHR looks forward to consolidating the advances made by the recent appointment of Assistant Secretary General Andrew Gilmour to receive, consider and respond to allegations of reprisals. Acts of intimidation and reprisal against human rights defenders seeking to cooperate with the UN constitute violations of international human rights law and undermine the human rights system. The Human Rights Council should respond with appropriate gravity to reprisals and follow-up past cases during its 35th session. [for my many posts on reprisals see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/reprisals/]

Business and human rights

The mandate of the Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises will be up for renewal during the session. The report of the Working Group will be considered by the Council, in addition to reports of country missions to Mexico and the Republic of Korea.

The Working Group will also present a study on best practices and how to improve the effectiveness of cross-border cooperation between States with respect to law enforcement on the issue of business and human rights, and a report on public procurement (not yet available at time of writing). Over the past three years, the Working Group has increasingly recognised the role of human rights defenders in ensuring business respect for human rights, and the specific challenges faced by defenders working on business and human rights issues, as exemplified by a dedicated workshop on this topic during its last session in May 2017. Since the last renewal of the mandate in 2014, the Working Group has also made increasing use of its ability to confront States and companies with allegations of human rights violations. From just 16 such communications in 2014 the Working Group has increased to 21 in 2015 and 42 in 2016. Both of these trends should be recognised and encouraged by the resolution renewing the mandate of the Working Group.

Women human rights defenders and women’s rights

The annual full day discussion on the human rights of women will take place on Tuesday 13 June from 9:00 to 12:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00. It will focus on engaging men and boys in responding to and preventing violence against women and girls. Engaging with men and boys to combat violence and discrimination against women and girls is essential to efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against them. This should include challenging the harmful gender stereotypes and negative social norms, attitudes and behaviours that underlie and perpetuate such violence.  Equally, it is important that the Council’s discussions and resolutions in this area  recognise the critical role of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) and organisations led by women and girls as rights holders and agents of change. They should be involved and consulted in the planning, design, implementation and monitoring of legislation, policies and programmes, including programs aimed at engaging men and boys.

ISHR will support joint advocacy on the resolutions on violence against women and discrimination against women, and on the ‘protection of the family’. The latter resolution will focus on ‘the rights of older persons in the context of family.’ States must ensure that this resolution upholds universal principles of human rights based on equality and non-discrimination. Many household structures and family forms exist across the world, facing particular situations and challenges that require tailored policy responses…

Cooperation of States with Special Procedures

There remains a consistent lack of State cooperation with Special Procedures, as demonstrated by the number of communications sent by the experts that have not received a State response, recorded in the Joint Communications Report published at every session of the Human Rights Council. ISHR welcomes recent developments in making communications more accessible, including the searchable database of communications, but continues to express concern that access to information regarding specific cases and State replies is still hard to find for victims and authors. [see my post from many years ago: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140603192912-22083774–crime-should-not-pay-in-the-area-of-international-human-rights]

Country specific developments

China: The Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Prof Philip Alston, will present the report from his country visit to China. Prof Alston was tailed by State security and was prevented from meeting with civil society during his visit. As a result, the country report stresses the necessity of civil society in holding the Chinese Government accountable to human rights standards. The country visit was further undermined by reprisals. Following a meeting with Prof Alston, disbarred human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong disappeared. His family was informed of his detention nearly one month later. Despite UN experts calling for an investigation into his disappearance, Jiang remains in ‘residential surveillance in a designated location’. Prof Alston’s report will be a key opportunity to discuss the ongoing crackdown on human rights defenders and concerns the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for civil society in China.  [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/jiang-tianyong/]

Burundi The commission of inquiry on Burundi will present an oral update on 14 and 15 June. ISHR remains concerned by consistent and deliberate lack of cooperation with human rights mechanisms in Burundi. The country continues to refuse to cooperate with UN Human Rights Council’s Independent Experts and despite the international community’s efforts to mitigate a human rights crisis, the situation continues to deteriorate. ISHR calls on the Burundian authorities to cease attacks against journalists and defenders and to cooperate with the UN commission of inquiry and implement the recommendations from both UN and African Commission reports.  [see inter alia: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/02/08/what-is-burundi-doing-in-the-un-human-rights-council/]

Other country situations where human rights defenders will surely come up: 

  • The interactive dialogue on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), from 12:00 to 15:00 on Tuesday 20 June.
  • The interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on Côte d’Ivoire will take place from 9:00 to 12:00 on Tuesday 20 June.
  • ISHR has joined a coalition of civil society organisations in urging State delegations to the Human Rights Council to express concern about the ongoing human rights crisis in Ethiopia.

Council programme, appointments and resolutions

Organisational meeting. The President of the Human Rights Council once again urged States to combat reprisals during the session. ‘As part of a constructive working atmosphere, it is in our common interest to have a climate of trust and security, whereby States ensure the appropriate protection against any acts of intimidation or reprisals against individuals and groups that cooperate or have cooperated with the United Nations, their representative and human rights mechanisms,’ he stated.

Appointment of mandate holders The President of the Human Rights Council has proposed candidates for the following four vacancies of mandate holders to be filled at this session:

  1. Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity [HRC resolution 26/6]
  2. Special Rapporteur on minority issues [HRC resolutions 25/5 and 34/6]
  3. Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants [HRC resolution 26/19]
  4. Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism [HRC resolution 31/3]

Panel discussions

During each Council session, panel discussions are held to provide member States and NGOs opportunities to hear from subject-matter experts and raise questions. Among the 4 panel discussions scheduled for this session:

Resolutions to be presented to the Council’s 35th session

At the organisational meeting on 22 May 2017 the following resolutions were announced (States sponsoring the resolution in brackets):

  • Resolution for the extension of the mandate on the Working Group on business and human rights (Norway and core group of Russia, Argentina and Ghana)
  • Resolution on accelerating efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women (Canada)
  • Resolution on discrimination against women (Colombia, Mexico)
  • Resolution on the protection of the human rights of migrants (Mexico)
  • Resolution on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism (Mexico)
  • Resolution on the human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic (France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UK and USA )
  • Resolution on the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, jurors and assessors, and the independence of lawyers (Australia, Botswana, the Maldives, Mexico, Thailand, Hungary)
  • Resolution for renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Independence and impartiality of the judiciary, jurors and assessors, and the independence of lawyers (Hungary)
  • Resolution for the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (Sweden)
  • Resolution for the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Belarus(EU)
  • Resolution for the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights (France, Albania, Chile, Morocco, Senegal, Romania, Philippines, Peru)

For the the guide to the 34th session see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/02/24/34th-human-rights-council-ishr-guide-to-key-issues-for-human-rights-defenders/

 

Ahmed Mansoor under arrest – Emirates under pressure

March 28, 2017

The importance of Ahmed Mansoor – MEA Laureate 2015 – as human rights defender and as the most important source of information on human rights in the Emirates (UAE) has been demonstrated by the international response to his sudden arrest [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/03/21/ahmed-mansoor-mea-laureate-2015-arrested-in-middle-of-the-night-raid-in-emirates/ ]. In addition to many newspaper and social media, there have been two important statements this morning:

The UN Special Procedures have called for Ahmed Mansoor’s release:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21449&LangID=E,

And so has the Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the EU Parliament  http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20170328IPR68805/droi-chair-calls-on-uae-to-unconditionally-release-ahmed-mansoor 

In view of the link between Manchester and UAE airlines (Emirates and Ethiad) it is specially interesting to note that AI Manchester has joined the campaign to free Ahmed Mansoor:

Special Rapporteur in Burundi: respect the work of Human Rights Defenders like Mbonimpa!

November 25, 2014

(Independent Expert on Human Rights Michel Forst. Photo: Jean-Marc Ferré)

On 25 November 2014 the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, expressed regret today that defenders in Burundi are deemed to be political opponents, saying that in reality they are activists working to promote and protect human rights and civil liberties. In a press release issued by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michel Forst, emphasized that threats and defamation campaigns by certain media outlets weigh on human rights defenders, who also report a high number of cases of physical threats, anonymous phone calls, assaults, arbitrary arrest and judicial harassment.

Read the rest of this entry »

Here we go again: appointment UN special rapporteurs postponed

March 31, 2014

Contrary to what I hoped in my post of last week, there are still problems with the appointment of the slate of special rapporteurs of the UN Human Rights Council. The session that just finished SHOULD have seen the appointment of 19 special procedure mandate holders, including the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders. The appointments were, however, postponed until April at the request of Peru. It seems that Peru argued that the President had not justified the few instances in which he had chosen to select another candidate than the one recommended by the consultative group based on the interviews they had carried out; and that the final group of selected candidates did not adhere to requirements of gender or regional balance. Peru was specifically unhappy at a lower representation of experts from Latin America amongst the special procedures. So, we wait a bit longer!

https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/new-un-special-rapporteur-on-human-rights-defenders-indeed-michel-forst/

New UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders indeed Michel Forst

March 28, 2014

While two weeks ago I was a bit too quick in announcing Michel Forst‘s appointment as the new UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/margaret-sekaggya-succeeded-as-hrd-rapporteur-by-michel-forst-reassuring/], a letter from the Chair of the Human Rights Council of 27 March 2014 fortunately confirms that he is the sole candidate and most likely to be endorsed by this session of the Council.

WCC consultation urges protection of human rights in Papua, Indonesia

October 16, 2013

On 16 October Scoop News reports on a consultation, held on 25 September 2013 in Geneva, entitled Isolating Papua which highlighted the increasing practice of limiting access to the Papuan provinces of Indonesia. Read the rest of this entry »

Criteria to ensure quality successor as Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders

September 28, 2013

As this is a weekend post I have chosen one that requires a bit of reflection: Several UN Rapporteurs are coming to the end of their term in 2014, including – unfortunately – also the mandate of the Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Margaret Sekaggya. A number of NGOs – in this case Amnesty International and the International Service for Human Rights – have given thought to the kind of kind of criteria that should ensure that a good successor in chosen, or at least that high-quality and independent candidates to come forward for nomination.

What follows are the key parts of the “Proposed criteria for selection & appointment of a new mandate holder on the situation of human rights defenders: Amnesty International, International Service for Human Rights and others;  joint written statement to the 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council (9 – 27 September 2013)

 In March 2014, the President of the UN Human Rights Council (the Council) will appoint a new Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

 This UN expert on the situation of human rights defenders will serve two terms of three years each.

Candidates and nominating entities shall submit an application with personal data and a motivation letter no longer than 600 words. OHCHR will prepare a public list of candidates.

 Applications open in early September, and the deadline now set for 31 October 2013.

Background

The signatory organisations call on Governments, NGOs and others, including relevant professional networks, to use this checklist to identify eligible candidates for the upcoming vacancy for the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. We urge Governments to consult civil society and to disseminate the vacancy widely, eg. through media advertisement, so as to encourage candidates to apply for this vacancy. Prospective mandate holders should be aware that this is a voluntary, unpaid role. They would not receive salary or other financial compensation, except for travel expenses and daily subsistence allowance of ‘experts on mission’. It will require a substantial time commitment from the individual, including readiness to travel and respond to urgent situations, as explained in the checklist.

Checklist for selection of candidates for mandate of Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders:

FORMAL CRITERIA

According to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1, Annex, the following general criteria will be of paramount importance while nominating, selecting and appointing mandate-holders: (a) Expertise; (b) Experience in the field of the mandate; (c) Independence; (d) Impartiality; (e) Personal integrity; (f) Objectivity. Due consideration should be given to gender balance and equitable geographic representation, and to an appropriate representation of different legal systems. Eligible candidates should be highly qualified individuals who possess established competence, relevant expertise and extensive professional experience in the field of human rights (paras. 39-41).

INDEPENDENCE

According to Council Resolution 5/1, ‘individuals holding decision-making positions in Government or in any other organization or entity which may give rise to a conflict of interest with the responsibilities inherent to the mandate shall be excluded.’ At a minimum, this requires independence of prospective mandate holders from the executive of governments or from intergovernmental organisations, which may be the subject of a communication or mission within the terms of the mandate. The conflict of interest provision has also been interpreted to mean that candidates are expected to clarify how, if appointed, they would deal with any perceived or actual conflict of interest in relation to governments, inter-governmental organisations, or non-governmental organisations.

QUALIFICATIONS & EXPERTISE

In its Decision 6/102 of 27 September 2007, the Council approved technical and objective requirements for candidates eligible for special procedures mandates. The following checklist is intended as an interpretive aid for those requirements:

1. Qualifications (and skills): relevant educational qualifications or equivalent professional experience in the field of human rights.

[Checklist:  A post-graduate university degree or equivalent in law, social sciences or in a discipline directly related to the mandate, preferably with a focus on international human rights law, would be highly desirable;  Academic publications or other published material (articles, studies, reports, research papers or any similar written material demonstrating in-depth knowledge) addressing issues relevant to the mandate, from a human rights perspective;  Excellent oral and written communication skills in at least one of the UN working languages (English, French and Spanish – knowledge of other widely-used or official UN languages, such as Arabic, Chinese or Russian, would be an asset);  Extensive experience in public speaking (for example in expert seminars) and in communicating at senior levels with governments, UN officials, the business community, the media and other relevant stakeholders.]

2. Relevant expertise: knowledge of international human rights instruments and standards; knowledge of institutional mandates related to the United Nations or other international or regional organisations’ work in the area of human rights; proven work experience in the field of human rights.

[Checklist:  Extensive knowledge of international human rights law and standards; Several years of progressively responsible work experience in the field of human rights or as a human rights defender, including in human rights research, monitoring, reporting, investigating and advocacy; Excellent knowledge of the international and regional legal frameworks and case law relevant to the promotion and protection of the rights of human rights defenders, including on freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, torture, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and enforced or involuntary disappearances; Excellent knowledge of institutional mandates of the United Nations or other international or regional organisations in the area of human rights.]

3. Established competence: nationally, regionally or internationally recognised competence related to human rights.

[Checklist:  A demonstrated commitment to universal human rights law, standards and values; Excellent knowledge and expertise of the work of human rights defenders, and the recent trends, developments and challenges they face; Experience at national, regional and/or international level in developing legislation and policy for the protection of human rights defenders and in creating an enabling environment for their work; Extensive experience with and proven commitment to working and/or interacting with civil society and in interacting with individuals whose human rights may have been violated or restricted as a result of their work of defending rights; Proven awareness of the particular risks faced by and particular protection needs of specific groups of human rights defenders, such as women human rights defenders, defenders working on sexual orientation and gender identity issues, ethnic and religious minorities, non-nationals, members of political opposition groups, people in a disadvantaged socio-economic situation, journalists and media workers and youth/children human rights defenders; Experience in interacting with actors impacting the work of human rights defenders, such as: Security forces Armed groups; and Transnational corporations and other business enterprises; Experience in the development and delivery of human rights and rule of law assistance/capacity building, including the training of law enforcement and legal professionals and other officials responsible for the protection of human rights defenders; the ability to conduct both academic and field research required, and experience in carrying out fact-finding missions.

4. Flexibility/readiness and availability of time to perform effectively the functions of the mandate and to respond to its requirements, including conducting visits, preparing reports and attending Human Rights Council and General Assembly sessions.

[Checklist: Willingness and ability to conduct in-country investigations, in all regions of the world, into government policies, legislation and practices affecting human rights defenders and their work; Energy, determination and vision to promote the effective and comprehensive implementation of the Declaration on human rights defenders;  A commitment to uphold the integrity, independence and impartiality of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate and the special procedures system as a whole;  Willingness and ability to devote a substantial proportion of working hours to fulfilling the mandate, which includes undertaking two to three country missions per year, preparing and presenting reports to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly (such as the annual thematic report, and country mission and follow-up reports), attending seminars and other UN meetings and acting on individual cases of violations of the rights of human rights defenders; Willingness and ability to act urgently when cases or situations so require.

APPOINTMENT PROCEDURE

Details and formalities about the nomination, selection and appointment of mandate holders are explained on the OHCHR Web site at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/Nominations.aspx. Applications have to be submitted through an online system.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/IOR42/002/2013/en/973e4b4a-a517-46ef-8080-59b3384e05d4/ior42022013en.pdf