School of Law

The Role of the Special Rapporteurs of the Human Rights Council in the Development and Promotion of International Human Rights Norms

24 June 2010 - 25 June 2010 | 9.30am | Workshop
Great Woodhouse Room, University House

This project builds on the work and reputation of the School in the area of international human rights law. The research workshop brings together existing and previous Special Rapporteurs, civil society actors and academics working in this area to examine the role (or roles) of the Special Rapporteur, with a view to producing academic publications and establishing a guide or set of principles of ‘best practice’ and/or proposals for reform at a time when the institutional framework of human rights protection at the level of the United Nations is again under scrutiny.

From the 1980s onwards the United Nations Commission on Human Rights established a number of thematic and country mandates to examine, monitor, advise and publically report on human rights situations in specific countries and on particular human rights issues. The special procedures have been assumed by the Human Rights Council which was given the task of subjecting the special procedures to ‘review, rationalisation and improvement’. The number of mandates holders and their roles in monitoring human rights violations have been subject to change and have gained in significance and controversy.

The activities of the Special Rapporteurs are increasingly objected to by those states subject to country mandates. The role has developed a quasi-judicial aspect with Special Procedures mandate holders receiving information on allegations of human rights violations and requesting governments for clarification of the facts. The role also has an advisory capacity with Rapporteurs producing their findings and recommendations following country visits. The importance of the Special Rapporteur system appears evident, yet there is no consensus on good or best practice in the way that mandates should be carried out or the extent or limits of the responsibilities of governments to assist Special Rapporteurs. Moreover, there is limited systematic scholarly examination of the nature and impact of the role of the Special Rapporteur in international law.

It is then timely to examine the role of the Special Rapporteurs in the development and promotion of international human rights norms.

Location Details

Great Woodhouse Room
University House
University of Leeds


University House is number 28 on the Campus Map.

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