United Nations Special Rapporteurs

Outline of the organisation

The Special Rapporteurs of the Human Rights Council (HRC) are independent human rights experts with mandates to report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective. The system of Special Rapporteurs is a central element of the UN human rights machinery and covers all human rights: civil, cultural, economic, political, and social. As of 1 August 2017, there were 44 thematic and 12 country mandates.

With the support of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Special Rapporteurs undertake country visits; act on individual cases and concerns of a broader, structural nature by sending communications to States and others in which they bring alleged violations or abuses to their attention; conduct thematic studies and convene expert consultations, contribute to the development of international human rights standards, engage in advocacy, raise public awareness and provide advice for technical cooperation. Special Rapporteurs report annually to the HRC; the majority of the mandates also report to the General Assembly. Their tasks are defined in the resolutions creating or extending their mandates.

Internship opportunities

There is no central internship program for the Special Rapporteurs. Positions may be advertised on sites such as here or on the individual website of each Special Rapporteur.