As the term for the current UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders comes to an end, Open Briefing and 130 partners around the world have published a checklist for the selection and appointment of Michel Forst’s successor.
The mandate of the Special Rapporteur plays a key role in the recognition and protection of those who promote and defend human rights. These individuals, organisations and groups often face serious challenges and risks as a result of their human rights work, and the mandate seeks to promote the creation of a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders around the world. It does this in many ways, such as by promoting the Declaration on human rights defenders; studying trends, developments and challenges faced by human rights defenders, including those with specific protection needs; recommending concrete and effective strategies to increase protection; and seeking, receiving and
examining information on individual cases.
The signatory organisations have published a document that provides information on the application process for candidates for the position of Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, formal criteria for selection of a mandate holder, and a checklist of criteria intended as an interpretive aid for those criteria. We call on governments, NGOs and others to use this checklist to identify eligible candidates for the upcoming vacancy. In particular, we encourage nominations of human rights defenders from marginalised groups or from communities and identities that are under-represented among Special Procedures mandate holders, including women and gender diverse persons.
Candidates have until 17 October 2019 to submit their applications for the position.