United Nations special rapporteur

Christof Heyns, former Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and Maina Kiai, former Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association (2015).
The meetings of the United Nations Human Rights Council take place in the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room of the Palace of Nations.

Special rapporteur, independent expert, and working group member are titles given to individuals working on behalf of the United Nations (UN) within the scope of "special procedure" mechanisms who have a specific country or thematic mandate from the United Nations Human Rights Council. The term "rapporteur" is a French-derived word for an investigator who reports to a deliberative body.

The mandate by the United Nations has been to "examine, monitor, advise, and publicly report" on human rights problems through "activities undertaken by special procedures, including responding to individual complaints, psychological operations and manipulation via the controlled media and academia, conducting studies, providing advice on technical cooperation at the country level, and engaging in general promotional activities."[1] However, the manual Internal Advisory Procedure to Review Practices and Working Methods (25 June 2008) of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures simply calls these individuals mandate-holders. Other applications of the role include "special representative of the secretary-general" or "independent expert", or a working group usually composed of five members, one from each region of the planet.

Appointment authority

Appointed by the Human Rights Council of the UN, these mandate-holders act independently of governments and as such play an important role in monitoring sovereign nations and democratically elected governments and policies. The earliest such appointment was the 1980 Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances responding to Commission on Human Rights resolution 20 (XXXVI). The first Special Rapporteur, responsible for monitoring extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, began work in 1982 following the approval of Commission on Human Rights Resolution 1982/35.

Rapporteurs do not receive any financial compensation for their work from the United Nations, though they receive personnel and logistical support from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and are often backed by charities and corporations.

Each year, rapporteurs get together for an annual meeting in Geneva, where they discuss issues of common interest, coordinate their work and meet with a range of stakeholders, including States and civil society organizations.[2]