Internal Advisory Procedure to Review Practices and Working Methods


During the 14th Annual Meeting of Special Procedures mandate-holders authorized the Coordination Committee to draft and present to its fifteenth Meeting an appropriate procedure by which the Code of Conduct and other relevant documents, including the Manual of the United Nations Human Rights Special Procedures may best be implemented to enhance the effectiveness and independence both of the Special Procedures system as a whole and also of individual mandate-holders. In the meantime the Coordination Committee was authorized to give appropriate consideration to any matter concerning the working methods of mandate-holder which may be brought to its attention. The CC has followed up on discussions on special procedures methods of work and accountability procedures, and established an interim advisory procedure to review practices and working methods.

At the 15th annual meeting in June 2008, mandate-holders discussed the interim procedure in the light of developments over the past year, and adopted the final advisory procedure to review practices and working methods. A complete set of rules and guidelines governing the work of special procedures is contained in the Code of Conduct, the Manual of Operations and additional guidelines developed over the years. The Coordination Committee has a facilitation role in this context and engage with all stakeholders individually or in a group. The Internal Advisory Procedure offers a more formal channel for complaints. Submissions in relation to this procedure should be sent to registry@ohchr.org and spcoordinationcommittee@ohchr.org. Information about the outcomes of the procedure is available in the annual report of special procedures presented to the Human Rights Council.

Additional information on Internal Advisory Procedure is provided below

For the period June 2019 – December 2020

The Coordination Committee has received twenty-six requests, fifteen from States from all regions or groups of States, five from mandate holders, three from NGOs, groups of NGOs or individuals and one from various sources. The Committee took also action on its own initiatives on two cases. The issues raised related to a variety of topics, inter alia:

  1. communications related issues, such as clarification on the use of Other Letters and their publication after 48 hours, the credibility and verification of sources, the timely reflection of States responses to communications, the issuance of communications with regional mechanisms, questions emanating from the issuance of press releases before the expiration of the deadline for State comments and the reflection of States comments in these press releases;
  2. Conflict of interest, in particular in relation to submissions received from former mandate holders, new positions or consultancies, participation in meetings, engagement with particular stakeholders, receipt of support from external stakeholders, and the use of information gathered by a mandate;
  3. The respect of confidentiality;
  4. Country visits and their reports;
  5. Issues related to the scope and application of mandates of special procedures, the Code of Conduct or the engagement of mandate holders with other bodies of the United Nations;
  6. Relationship of mandate holders with judicial processes;
  7. Clarification of procedures followed by various mandate holders;
  8. Advice in relation to participation in meetings or questions related to the virtual participation of mandate holders in meetings;
  9. Editing and documentation issues;
  10. Issues related to the lack of respect for human rights principles.

As a result, the Committee issued one advice about the participation in meetings, five advices on conflict of interest, six advices aiming at the development of new guidance or improvements of the current practices, five clarifications of the scope of application of existing rules and practices and corrective measures, four remedial actions, four facilitations of dialogue with the mandate holders concerned, one withdrawal of a case and two decisions not to pursue the case further. Following a request of the President of the Human Rights Council, the Committee provided its advice to the Bureau on two letters of complaint made by groups of States regarding two special procedures mandate holders. The advice of the Committee is available on the HRC extranet.