What exactly does a United Nations Rapporteur do? Is this a powerful position?

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    Special Rapporteur is a title given to individuals working on behalf of the United Nations who bear a specific mandate from the former UN Commission on Human Rights to investigate, monitor and recommend solutions to human rights problems. They are also called "Special Procedures".

    Appointed by the UN Secretary General, these experts are "of high moral character and recognized competence in the field of human rights." They act independently of governments. They do not receive any financial compensation for their work, but they receive personnel and logistical support from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Some of these experts are called Special Representatives or Independent Experts.

    Special Rapporteurs often conduct fact-finding missions to countries to investigate allegations of human rights violations. They can only visit countries that have agreed to invite them.

    Aside from fact-finding missions, Rapporteurs regularly assess and verify complaints from alleged victims of human rights violations. Once a complaint is verified as legitimate, an urgent letter or appeal is sent to the government that has allegedly committed the violation [1].

    Special Rapporteurs are typically appointed to serve for 3 years, after which their mandate can be extended for another 3 years.

    In June 2006, the United Nations Human Rights Council, which replaced the UN Commission on Human Rights, extended the mandates of all Special Rapporteurs by one year to enable it to conduct a review of the mandates and seek ways of strengthening their roles. "

    Currently, there are 37 Special Rapporteurs, Special Representatives and Independent Experts who serve under the following country and thematic mandates:

    Countries

    Belarus - Adrian Severin, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights (2005-2006)

    Burundi - Akich Okola, Independent Expert on Human Rights (2005-2006)

    Cambodia - Yash Ghai, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for human rights (2005)

    Cuba - Christine Chanet, Personal Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on human rights (2002- )

    Democratic Republic of the Congo - Titinga Frédéric Pacere, Independent Expert on human rights (2005-2006)

    Haiti - Louis Joinet, Independent Expert on human rights (1995- )

    Myanmar - Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Special Rapporteur on human rights (2005-2006)

    Liberia - Charlotte Abaka, Independent Expert on human rights (2003-2006)

    North Korea - Vitit Muntarbhorn, Special Rapporteur on human rights (2005-2006)

    Palestinian territories - John Dugard, Special Rapporteur on human rights (1993-

    Somalia - Ghanim Alnajjar, Independent Expert on human rights (2005-2006)

    Sudan - Sima Samar, Special Rapporteur on human rights (2005-2006)

    Uzbekistan - Michele Picard, Independent Expert on human rights (2005-2006)

    Themes

    Adequate Housing - Miloon Kothari (2003-2006)

    Education - Vernor Munoz Villalobos (2004-2007)

    Effects of Economic Reform Policies and Foreign Debt on Human Rights - Bernards Andrew Nyamwaya Mudho (2003-2006)

    Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary executions - Philip Alston (2004-2007)

    Food - Jean Ziegler (2000-2006)

    Freedom of Opinion and Expression - Ambeyi Ligabo (2002-2008)

    Freedom of Religion or Belief - Asma Jahangir (2004-2007)

    Independence of Judges and Lawyers - Leandro Despouy (2003-2006)

    Minority Issues - Gay McDougall (2005-2007)

    Physical and Mental Health - Paul Hunt (2005-2008)

    Protecting Human Rights while Countering Terrorism - Martin Sheinin (2005-2008)

    Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance - Doudou Diène (2005-2008)

    Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography - Juan Miguel Petit (2004-2007)

    Torture - Manfred Nowak (2004-2007)

    Trafficking in Persons - Sigma Huda (2004-2007)

    Violence against Women - Yakin Urturk (2003-2006)

    Human Rights of Indigenous People - Rodolfo Stavenhagen (2004-2007)

    Human Rights of Migrants - Jorge Bustamente (2005-2008)

    Human Rights and the Illicit Movement of Toxic Waste - Okechukwu Ibeanu (2004-2007)

    Human Rights Defenders - Hina Jilani (2003-2006)

    Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises - John Ruggie (2005-2007)

    Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons - Walter Kalin (2004-2006)

    Human Rights and Extreme Poverty - Arjun Sengupta (2004-2006)

    Human Rights and International Solidarity - Rudi Muhammad Rizki (2005-2008)

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