The special procedures of the Human Rights Council are independent human rights experts with mandates to report and advice on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective. See list of mandate holders at the links below:
Special procedures mechanisms can intervene directly with Governments on allegations of violations of human rights that come within their mandates by means of letters which include urgent appeals and other communications. The intervention can relate to a human rights violation that has already occurred, is ongoing, or which has a high risk of occurring. The process involves sending a letter to the concerned State identifying the facts of the allegation, applicable international human rights norms and standards, the concerns and questions of the mandate-holder(s), and a request for follow-up action.
In order to avoid duplication in reporting, rationalize documentation, allow examination of cross cutting issues and ensure that the content of communications and any follow-up would feed into the universal periodic review mechanism more effectively special procedures mandate holders decided that a joint communications report would be prepared (cf. A/HRC/12/47, paras 24-26) containing summaries of communications, the text of the communications sent and replies received, and statistical information (A/HRC/15/44, para. 26-27).
Following the Outcome of the review of the work and functioning of the Human Rights Council, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has been tasked to maintain information on special procedures in a comprehensive and easily accessible manner, including through the use of modern information technology to reduce the circulation of paper (A/HRC/RES/16/21, Annex, paras. 29 and 60).
This database therefore provides easy access to the communications sent by special procedures and replies received by States and other actors since 2011. It also facilitates the search of communications sent and replies received.