Current Selection Procedures for Mandate Holders (2015)

Independent United Nations experts of the Human Rights Council are appointed through a competitive and transparent process which involves an online written application in response to a call for candidatures issued by the Secretariat. Shortlisted candidates are then interviewed by telephone by the Consultative Group composed by five Ambassadors nominated by each of the five regional groups. The Consultative Group makes recommendations to the President of the Human Rights Council through its public report. The appointment is finalized when the selected candidate put forward by the President is approved by the Human Rights Council.

Please note that the selection and appointment process is the same for both special procedures mandate holders and members of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


According to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1, Annex, the following general criteria will be of paramount importance while nominating, selecting and appointing mandate holders:
(a) expertise;
(b) experience in the field of the mandate;
(c) independence;
(d) impartiality;
(e) personal integrity;
(f) objectivity.

Due consideration should be given to gender balance and equitable geographic representation, as well as to an appropriate representation of different legal systems. Eligible candidates are highly qualified individuals who possess established competence, relevant expertise and extensive professional experience in the field of human rights (paras. 39-41).


In its decision 6/102 of 27 September 2007, the Council approved technical and objective requirements for candidates eligible for mandate holders.

1. Qualifications: relevant educational qualifications or equivalent professional experience in the field of human rights; good communication skills in one of the official languages of the United Nations.
2. Relevant expertise: knowledge of international human rights instruments, norms and principles; as well as knowledge of institutional mandates related to the United Nations or other international or regional organizations’ work in the area of human rights; proven work experience in the field of human rights.
3. Established competence: nationally, regionally or internationally recognized competence related to human rights.
4. Flexibility/readiness and availability of time to perform effectively the functions of the mandate and to respond to its requirements, including attending Human Rights Council sessions.


Paragraph 42 of Annex to Council resolution 5/1, provides that the following entities may nominate candidates:
(a) Governments,
(b) Regional Groups operating within the United Nations human rights system,
(c) international organizations or their offices,
(d) non-governmental organizations,
(e) other human rights bodies, and
(f) individual nominations.

Paragraph 22 (a) of Annex to Council resolution 16/21 of 25 March 2011 further provides that national human rights institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles may also nominate candidates.


Further to paragraph 22 (a) of Annex to Council resolution 16/21 of 25 March 2011 individual candidates and candidates nominated by entities shall submit an application for each specific mandate, together with personal data. A motivation letter, which should be no longer than 600 words, must also be submitted by candidates. The application form and motivation letter need to be submitted in English.


Further to paragraph 22 (c) of Annex to Council resolution 16/21 of 25 March 2011 the Consultative Group shall interview shortlisted candidates to ensure equal treatment of all candidates.

The Consultative Group (current composition of the Consultative Group), established in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 5/1, submits to the President, ‘at least one month before the beginning of the session in which the Council would consider the selection of mandate holders, a list of candidates who possess the highest qualifications for the mandates in question and meet the general criteria and particular requirements'.


On the basis of the recommendations of the Consultative Group and following broad consultations, in particular through the regional coordinators, the President of the Council will identify an appropriate candidate for each vacancy and presents to member States and observers a list of candidates.

The President shall justify his/her decision if he/she decides not to follow the order of priority proposed by the Consultative Group (paragraph 22 (d) of Annex to Council resolution 16/21 of 25 March 2011).