“The special procedures of the Human Rights Council are independent human rights experts with mandates to report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective. The system of Special Procedures is a central element of the United Nations human rights machinery and covers all human rights: civil, cultural, economic, political, and social.” (From OHCHR | Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council)
When significant human rights concerns arise in a country or in relation to a specific issue, the Human Rights Council the power to create a ‘Special Procedure’, with the aim of monitoring the implementation of human rights in relation to this specific country or issue. A Special Procedure can either be formed as a Working Group, or as an individual (ie, Special Rapporteur or Independent Expert). The mandate of any Special Procedure is threefold:
Annual thematic reports: They assess important and topical questions within the scope of their mandate and publish annual thematic reports containing recommendations to states. Special procedures report annually to the Human Rights Council. The majority of the mandates also report to the General Assembly.
Individual complaints and communications: They are competent to receive individual complaints and issue communications in order to ‘inquire into any substantial allegations transmitted to him or her and report his or her conclusions thereon’.
Country visits: They assess the implementation of human rights within the scope of their mandate.
Communications on Tibet
OHCHR Statements on Tibet
Statements by the High Commissioner
Statements by UN experts