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The High Commissioners and the Special Procedures: Colleagues and Competitors

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Chapter Summary

Finding the political support and the practical means to enforce universal human rights principles has been a controversial matter for governments since the founding of the United Nations and a principal concern of the High Commissioner to the present. High Commissioners have generally praised the special procedures, calling them “one of the main pillars” of the UN’s human rights system, “crucial”, “first-line protection actors,”, “a unique link”, and “active and unique” mechanisms. Beginning with a summary of the development of the United Nations (UN) mechanisms, this chapter examines differing approaches taken by the High Commissioners towards the special procedures, including serving as their leader, partner, manager, promoter, and/or protector. The chapter concludes with a discussion of country visits and with recommendations for strategic management of the special procedures by the High Commissioner to strengthen their common goal: more effective responses to human rights violations.

Keywords:High Commissioner; Human Rights; special procedures; United Nations (UN)



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