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2. Preparing for Geneva

2.4 So… you are coming to meet the Special Procedures

If you are going to meet with a Special Procedures mandate holder or OHCHR staff working with them, below are some ideas to consider.

Illustration of the Special Procedures

  • Identify which Special Procedure(s) could help you with your advocacy. Remember to consider those with a country focus, as well as a thematic focus. Remember to tailor your information or ‘asks’ to the mandates that you are meeting with.

  • You can arrange a meeting with a Special Procedure by contacting the OHCHR staff working with the mandate holder. To find up-to-date email addresses, you can check recent press releases of the Special Procedure as the direct email addresses of the OHCHR staff working with the mandate holder is usually mentioned at the end of the text.

  • Check out the websites of the Special Procedures mandate holders to see what they have said or focused on in their reports.

  • Use the websites of the Special Procedures to find out whether they have visited your country, or if they have requested to visit.

  • Look at the Special Procedures’ communications database to find out whether they have sent communications on the issues you are working on, or on your country.

  • Before your meeting with a Special Procedure, try to speak to partners to get the basic information you need from defenders who engage regularly with the Special Procedures. That way you can use your meeting as effectively as possible, even if it only lasts 30 minutes!

  • You can bring physical copies of reports, summaries of cases, or other documentation, but remember that you must email any information to the Special Procedure after your meeting for it to be considered information for a communication.

  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you are unsure of what a mandate holder might be able to do to respond to a situation, there might be possibilities you have not thought of.

Often, it is not possible to travel to Geneva to engage with UN mechanisms. That doesn't mean you can't use those mechanisms to help push for your advocacy goals – the next chapter looks at the different ways you can engage from home!

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