The United Nations Special Procedures System

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The United Nations Special Procedures system is a key element of the evolving international framework for human rights protection and promotion. However, despite the system’s expansion, the range of roles and functions performed by mandate holders, and the mounting evidence of its strengths and limitations, there has been very little academic interrogation or analysis of Special Procedures. This lacuna is ever-more problematic given the growing profile and effectiveness of the Special Procedures’ work, as well as the increasing attention and challenges that they face, both externally from States and internally from within the UN system. Given the current ‘state of play’ of Special Procedures, it is essential that scholarly attention be focussed upon the system. How does it contribute to international human rights protection? How, when and why does it fail to do so? What steps can and should be taken to address shortcomings both within the system and in terms of the legal and political context within which it operates? Featuring expert contributions from key players within, and expert commentators on, the Special Procedures system, this volume addresses these questions in an in-depth and rigorous scholarly manner.

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Biographical Note

Aoife Nolan is Professor of International Human Rights Law and Co-lead of the Rights and Justice Research Priority Area at the University of Nottingham.

Rosa Freedman is Professor of Law, Conflict and Global Development and Director of the Global Development Division at University of Reading.

Thérèse Murphy is Professor of Law and Director of the Health & Human Rights Unit at Queen's University Belfast.

Review Quotes

"Special Procedures are a crucial part of the United Nations human rights apparatus. While they are well-used in practice, there has been very little discussion of Special Procedures within academic scholarship. This welcome collection fills a significant space in the literature, one that will clearly lead to greater understanding of the system. The book reflects a wide range of perspectives and deep expertise, and will be an important source for anyone interested in international human rights."
Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Table of contents

List of figures; Notes on contributors; Acknowledgements; Acronyms;
Introduction Aoife Nolan, Rosa Freedman and Thérèse Murphy;
PART 1: The ‘System’ of Special Procedures
The History of the Special Procedures: A ‘Learning-by-Doing’ Approach to Human Rights Implementation Elvira Domínguez-Redondo;
Special Procedures: Independence and Impartiality Jane Connors;
Picking and Choosing? Country Visits by Thematic Special Procedures Felice Gaer;
The UN Special Procedures System: The Role of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures Najat Maalla M’jid;
Strengthening Cooperation: The Key to Unlocking the Potential of the Special Procedures Marc Limon;
PART 2: Exploring Opportunities and Challenges through Mandate Holders’ Work
Coping Mechanisms for State Non-Cooperation Ahmed Shaheed and Rose Parris Richter;
Doing It All and Doing It Well? A Mandate’s Challenges in terms of Cooperation, Fundraising and Maintaining Independence Inga T. Winkler and Catarina de Albuquerque;
Working Out a Working Group: A View from a Former Working Group Member Olivier de Frouville ;
Special Procedures in the Digital Age Ella McPherson and Thomas Probert;
Principle, Politics and Practice: The Role of UN Special Rapporteurs in the Development of the Right to Housing in International Law Jessie Hohmann;
Life as a UN Special Rapporteur: The Experience of the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Cambodia Surya Subedi;
Business and Human Rights in the United Nations Special Procedures System Daria Davitti;
The Challenge of Non-State Actors: The Experience of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health (2002–08) Paul Hunt;
PART 3: Special Procedures and the ‘Bigger Picture’
The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture in the Developing Architecture of UN Torture Protection
Malcolm Evans;
The African State and Special Procedures: Agency, Leverage and Legitimacy Danielle Beswick and Jonathan Fisher;
Supporting or Resisting? The Relationship between Global North States and Special Procedures Rosa Freedman and François Crépeau;
Ending Reprisals: The Role and Responsibilities of the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council Phil Lynch;
Index.

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