Other International Human Rights Mechanisms

Special Procedures

The UN international system to monitor the implementation of human rights is made up of different roles and institutions, which are very important for children. These come under the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Human Rights Council is part of the United Nations system and is made up of 47 member states that are elected, usually every three years, by the UN General Assembly. It holds regular meetings in Geneva to discuss all thematic human rights issues and regularly looks at the human rights situation in all the member states of the United Nations, in a system called the Universal Periodic Review. 

The so-called ‘Special Procedures’ of the Human Rights Council is a group of independent human rights experts who monitor and report on human rights issues, either from a thematic perspective or a country-specific perspective.  These thematic and country ‘mandates’ are an important part of the UN human rights system.  They carry out country visits, report on specific human rights issues, raise their concerns with governments and report to the Human Rights Council on their findings.  

The Special Procedures are important for children, as they cover a range of issues that all affect children, either directly or indirectly. 

Examples of some that are very relevant for children include:

  • The Special Rapporteur on the right to food
  • The Special Rapporteur on the right to education
  • The Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation
  • The Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children
  • The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights
  • The Special Rapporteur on the human rights implications of environmental management and disposal of hazardous substances and waste

The full list of these experts can be found here.

CRAE engages with human rights experts on their official fact-finding visits to the UK, and also submits written evidence on specific thematic issues which they are investigating.  In 2018 we submitted written evidence to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, ahead of his visit to the UK. His final report can be read here.

We also met with the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, and raised the disproportionate impact of school exclusions on children from minority backgrounds, the disproportionate impact of child arrests on Black and Ethnic Minority children, and the disproportionately high number of Black and Ethnic Minority children being held overnight in police cells overnight, along with other issues. Her final report on the UK can be read here.