The United Nations Special Procedures System: Introduction
A. Nolan, R. Freedman & T. Murphy, 'The United Nations Special Procedures System' (Brill, 2017)
10 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2016 Last revised: 31 Jul 2018
Date Written: July 1, 2016
Described by Kofi Annan as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the United Nations human rights system, the Special Procedures (SP) system is a key element of the expanding international framework for human rights protection and promotion. However, despite the system’s expansion, the roles and functions performed by mandate holders, and the growing evidence of its strengths and limitations, there has been almost no academic interrogation or analysis of SP. This lacuna is ever-more problematic given the growing profile and effectiveness of the SP’s 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 the SP system, it is essential that careful attention and analysis be focused on the system. How does the SP system 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 context in which it operates? The volume addresses these questions in an in-depth and rigorous scholarly manner. This introduction to the volume sets out the motivation for the collection in terms of the prevailing international legal and political context, furnishes a justification of the volume’s structure, and provides a unified, overarching discussion of the contributions, identifying and engaging with the key questions and themes addressed by contributors.
Keywords: human rights, United Nations, international law, special procedures, UN, international human rights law, special rapporteurs, Human Rights Council, Commission on Human Rights, OHCHR
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