Mandate-holders carry out country visits to assess the situation of human rights at the national level : at the request of a mandate-holder, the Government will send an invitation for a fact-finding mission. Some countries have issued
standing invitations, which means that they are, in principle, prepared to receive a visit from any thematic mandate-holder.
During such missions, the experts assess the general human rights situation in a given country, as well as the specific institutional, legal, judicial, administrative and de facto situation under their respective mandates. They will meet with national and local authorities, including members of the judiciary and parliamentarians; members of the national human rights institution, if applicable; non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations and victims of human rights violations; the UN and other inter-governmental agencies; and the press when giving a press-conference at the end of the mission.
Country visits’ findings, conclusions and recommendations by special procedures are published in mission reports to the Human Rights Council (All special procedures country-related information can also be found in the
Universal Human Rights Index.)
Terms of Reference for country visits by Special procedures
The Terms of Reference for country visits by mandate holders to States and territories - adopted by special procedures in 1998 and updated in 2016 - are intended to guide Governments in the conduct of the visit. These Terms of Reference reflect the need for freedom of movement, freedom on inquiry, in particular contacts with central and local authorities of all branches of Government, confidential and unsupervised contacts with civil society, including non-governmental organizations, private institutions, media, witnesses and other private persons, and full access to all places of detention and interrogation as considered necessary for the fulfilment of the mandate concerned, assurances by the Government that no persons who have been in contact with mandate holders will suffer threats, harassment or punishment for doing so and appropriate security arrangement without restricting the above-mentioned freedom of movement and inquiry.
The full Terms of Reference are available