The Special Procedures of the HRC are independent experts authorized to inform and advise on specific issues and situations in the field of human rights. The system of special procedures is a central element of the UN human rights mechanism and covers all civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.
Currently, the number of special procedures of the Human Rights Council is 55, of which 44 are thematic, and 11 relate to specific countries.
Special procedures are either an individual (referred to as a "Special Rapporteur" or "Independent Expert") or a working group consisting of five members (one from each UN regional group: Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and a group of Western countries).
Special Rapporteurs, independent experts and members of working groups are appointed by the HRC and act in their personal capacity. They commit themselves to ensuring independence, efficiency, competence and integrity through integrity, impartiality, honesty and integrity. They are not UN employees and do not receive monetary remuneration. The independent status of mandate holders is essential so that they can carry out their functions with complete impartiality.
The term of office of the mandate holders, thematic or country, may not exceed six years.
With the support of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), special procedures undertake country visits, respond to individual cases of human rights violations and broader and structural problems by sending messages to States or others drawing their attention to alleged violations of rights or abuses, conduct case studies and expert consultations, contribute to the development of international human rights standards, participate in awareness-raising activities, raise public awareness and provide advice on technical cooperation.
Annual meetings of special procedures mandate holders have been held since 1994. In 2005, a Coordinating Committee was established to coordinate the activities of special procedures, establish links between them and OHCHR, the broader UN human rights system and civil society.
Special procedures report annually to the HRC. Most mandate holders also report to the UN General Assembly. Their tasks are defined in resolutions establishing or extending their mandates.
Mandate holders conduct country visits to study the human rights situation at the national level. They usually send a letter to the State requesting a visit to the country, and if the State agrees, an invitation is issued to the mandate holder. Some countries issue "standing invitations", which mean that, theoretically, States are ready to receive any mandate holder of a thematic special procedure with a visit.
To date, 127 Member States, including Uzbekistan, and one observer State have issued standing invitations to special procedures.
The modern UN human rights system requires the permanent participation of UN Member States in international activities in the field of human rights in order to carry out information and explanatory work on the measures taken in the country and to prevent negative assessments and statements on various aspects of the human rights situation.
In the period from 2003-2016, Uzbekistan has not received any special procedures mandate holders of the UN Human Rights Council and has rejected more than 35 requests from 15 mandate holders to visit Tashkent.
Uzbekistan's lack of active cooperation with UN special procedures has partly led to increased criticism of the country by individual States and international human rights organizations.
In October 2017, at the invitation of the Government of Uzbekistan, the UN HRC Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Ahmed Shahid visited the Republic of Uzbekistan. During his visit, the Special Rapporteur was received by the country's leadership. At the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council (February 26-March 3, 2017, Geneva), the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Ahmed Shahid presented a report on the results of his visit to Uzbekistan. The Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief on his mission to Uzbekistan (A/HRC/37/49Add/2) presents recommendations to the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan, for the implementation of which the Parliament of Uzbekistan has approved a Roadmap.
In the period from September 18 to 26, 2019, at the invitation of the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan, a delegation of the Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council on the independence of judges and lawyers, headed by Diego Garcia-Sayan, visited Uzbekistan. During his visit, the Special Rapporteur was received by the country's leadership. Within the framework of the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the presentation of the report of the Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council on the independence of judges and lawyers Diego Garcia-Sayan on the results of his visit to Uzbekistan was held. In the report of the UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers on his mission to Uzbekistan (A/HRC/44/XX/Add.1) Recommendations have been submitted to the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan, for the implementation of which has been included in the National Human Rights Strategy of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
In the period from November 29 to December 7, 2021, at the invitation of the Government, a delegation headed by the Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, F. Ní Aoláin.
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