Individual Complaints

In the framework of his mandate, the Special Rapporteur receives information on alleged violations of human rights of people living in extreme poverty. To the limit of available resources and according to the reliability of information received, he may accordingly write to the concerned Government, either jointly with other special procedure mandate-holders or independently. The Special Rapporteur will seek clarification from the Government and invite it to comment on the allegations. The Special Rapporteur may further remind the Government of its obligations under international law and request information, where relevant, on steps being taken by the authorities to redress the situation in question. In appropriate cases, the Special Rapporteur may also write to non-State actors, such as business enterprises and international organizations. The Special Rapporteur urges all parties to respond promptly to his communications and to take all steps necessary to redress situations involving the violation of the rights of people living in poverty.

How to file a complaint

Any person or group of persons claiming to be a victim or victims of violations and/or to have direct or reliable knowledge of those violations may submit a complaint to the Special Rapporteur. In order for a complaint to be considered by the Special Rapporteur, the following information is required:

  • Who is the alleged victim(s) (individual(s), community, group, etc.); Please note that anonymous complaints are not considered. In principle, the names of the alleged victims are communicated to the concerned Governments and published in joint Communications Reports.
  • Who is the alleged perpetrator(s) of the violation; Please provide substantiated information on all the actors involved, including non-state actors if relevant.
  • Identification of the person(s) or organization(s) submitting the complaint (this information will be kept confidential); The identity of the source of information on the alleged violation is always kept confidential.
  • Date, place and detailed description of the circumstances of the incident(s) or the violation; Please set out the facts clearly and concisely and describe violations that have already occurred, that are ongoing or about to occur. The information should also indicate any actions taken at the national or regional level to seek remedies and any other relevant information. Please also indicate whether any part of the submitted information should remain confidential and not be published in the joint Communications Report of Special Procedures.
  • Express and informed consent of the alleged victim(s) Please provide evidence of the express and informed consent of the alleged victim (s) in case the complaint is submitted by another person or organization on behalf of the victim(s).

As a general rule, communications that contain abusive language or that are obviously politically motivated are not considered.

A complaint may be sent to the Special Rapporteur online or by

Fax: +41 22 917 90 06; or
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10


Communications of the Special Rapporteur are confidential until they are published in the joint Communications Report of Special Procedures, submitted periodically to the Human Rights Council. The joint Communications Report also contains responses of the concerned Governments and other actors to the communications. It is important for the Special Rapporteur to receive updated and relevant information on the situations referred to in the complaints, so that he may continue following up on the issue through his dialogue with the concerned parties. Person(s) or organization(s) that have submitted information and complaints are urged to consider the responses of the concerned Governments and other actors and to submit their comments, if necessary, to the Special Rapporteur.

Also note that several other individual complaint mechanisms have been established as part of the international human rights system. For more information please visit the Special Procedures page and the Human Rights Bodies-Complaints Procedures page.