UN Special Procedures Watch — Weekly Summary (28 Apr — 4 May 2019)
Week in Numbers
16 mandates issued statements
12 statements issued
8 countries subject to statements
2 country visit concluded
16 UN human rights experts responsible for thematic Special Procedures mandates issued 12 statements during the week, including three joint statements, three end-of-mission statements or press releases, and three media advisories announcing country visits. These mandates are (name of country or issue concerned in parentheses; * indicates country visit, ** indicates joint statement):
1. Arbitrary detention (United Kingdom, Yemen**)
2. Disabilities (India**)
3. Executions (India**, Yemen**)
4. Expression (Philippines**, World Press Freedom Day)
5. Foreign debt (Bolivia*)
6. Health (India**)
7. Human rights defenders (India**, Philippines**)
8. Independence of judges and lawyers (Yemen**)
9. Leprosy (Brazil*)
10. Minority issues (Education, language and human rights of minorities; Yemen**)
11. Older persons (Mozambique*)
12. Privacy (Argentina*)
13. Religion (Yemen**)
14. Terrorism (Philippines**)
15. Torture (India**)
16. Truth (El Salvador*)
The statements issued during the week concerned eight countries and two thematic issues. Country visits concluded in El Salvador and Mozambique this week while visits to Cambodia, Mongolia, and Ukraine are on-going. Next week, country visits will commence in Bolivia and Brazil. The concerned countries are (name of mandate who issued statement concerning that country or issue in parentheses, asterisk indicates country visit):
1. Education, language and human rights of minorities (minority issues)
2. World Press Freedom Day (expression)
3. Bolivia (foreign debt*)
4. Brazil (leprosy*)
5. El Salvador
6. India (disabilities, human rights defenders, health, torture, executions)
7. Mozambique (older persons*)
8. Philippines (human rights defenders, expression, terrorism)
9. United Kingdom (arbitrary detention)
10. Yemen (arbitrary detention, executions, independence of judges and lawyers, minority issues, religion)
In his statement commemorating World Press Freedom Day, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression cited negative and positive examples of the promotion and protection of press freedom in 11 countries: China, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Liberia, Malta, Mexico, Myanmar, the Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.
Special Procedures mandate holders took up various issues this week, including the appellate decision on the death sentence against a man belonging to religious minority in Yemen, a company’s alleged mistreatment of Indian migrant workers in a special economic zone in Gabon, renewed threats by the Philippine authorities against the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, the imprisonment of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in the United Kingdom, and press freedom in the world.
Mandate-holders raised individual cases in the statements on India, the Philippine, United Kingdom, and Yemen.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of Special Procedures who are calling for input or submission into their upcoming report or country visit (please click on hyperlink for more details):
The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders is conducting a survey for his 2019 report to the General Assembly on “impunity for human rights violations and abuses committed against human rights defenders” — Deadline 6 May 2019.
The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples is calling for input for her September 2019 report to the Human Rights Council on the theme of “indigenous justice systems and harmonisation with the ordinary justice system” — Deadline 10 May 2019.
The Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is calling for input for his next report to the UN General Assembly on the theme of “domestic violence and the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment” — Deadline 15 May 2019.
The Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights is calling for inputs for his next report to the UN General Assembly on theme of “digital technology, social protection and human rights” — Deadline 17 May 2019.
The Special Rapporteur on violence against women is calling for submissions for her report to the 74th session of the General Assembly on the issue of “mistreatment and violence against women during reproductive health care and childbirth” — Deadline 17 May 2019.
The Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence is calling for submissions for his October 2019 report to the General Assembly on the theme of “apologies in transitional justice contexts” — Deadline 17 May 2019.
The Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights is calling for inputs for her report to the General Assembly on “cultural rights and public spaces” — Deadline 20 May 2019.
The Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health is calling for inputs for his next report to the 74th session of the UN General Assembly on the theme of “the role of medical education in strengthening the health workforce, including doctors and other health workers” — Deadline 20 May 2019.
The Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order is calling for inputs for his next report on the issue of “participation in global governance spaces” — Deadline 23 May 2019.
The Special Rapporteur on adequate housing is calling for inputs for her next report to the 74th session of the UN General Assembly on the theme of “the right to adequate housing for indigenous peoples” — Deadline 31 May 2019.
The Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, including child prostitution, child pornography and other child sexual abuse material is calling for inputs for her next report on the theme of “safeguards for the protection of the rights of children born from surrogacy arrangements” — Deadline 31 May 2019.
The Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief is calling for inputs for his next report to the General Assembly on the theme of antisemitism — Deadline 7 June 2019.
Nomination, Selection and Appointment
The Human Rights Council has published a list of vacancies to be appointed between June 2019 and March 2020. Calls for applications for these vacancies are forthcoming.
List of statements issued during the week (hyperlinked to full text)
1. Yemen Court must not punish faith with death — UN experts (29 Apr 2019)
2. UN expert visits Bolivia to assess public finance and human rights (30 Apr 2019)
3. India: UN experts call for release of human rights defender Saibaba (30 Apr 2019)
5. First Regional Forum on Minority Issues to take place in Belgium (2 May 2019)
8. Brazil: UN expert on leprosy to visit (3 May 2019)
11. Preliminary observations of the official visit to El Salvador by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition, Fabián Salvioli (23 Apr to 3 May 2019) (Spanish)
Special Procedures form the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system. They are appointed and mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to conduct independent fact-finding and monitoring to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Serving in their individual capacity and without receiving a salary for their work, they are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. These experts monitor, research and report annually to the Council and the General Assembly on issues relevant to their mandate, conduct country visits, conduct public and private advocacy, consult with and seek input from various actors, and communicate with governments, businesses, international organisations and other actors on individual cases, laws and policies, and other relevant issues of concern. As of November 2017, there are 56 Special Procedures (44 relating to thematic issues and 12 relating to countries or territories) with currently 80 mandate-holders. For more information, see: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/Welcomepage.aspx