One of the central tools of the Human Rights Council’s Special Procedures is the ability to communicate directly with governments upon receipt of information that raises human rights concerns. Council Resolution 5/2, which adopted the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures mandate-holders, emphasizes the importance of communications. The mandate for freedom of expression has issued thousands of communications to States, including Allegation Letters, Urgent Appeals, and Other Letters (the last typically involving comment on legislation and policy). States have responded approximately 52% of the time. The mandate has also begun to issue comments raising freedom of expression concerns with companies.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has made all reported communications of the freedom of expression mandate (as well as other mandates within Special Procedures) searchable, in the interests of transparency, accountability, and research. The link to the search tool is here. The search tool archives and catalogues all communications since the 18th Session of the Human Rights Council in 2011.
The mandate also publishes its comments on legislation and policy as soon as they have been transmitted to the relevant government. The link to the webpage containing these comments is here. We hope that this real-time publication of legislative and public policy comments will promote human rights scrutiny and public discourse concerning the development of domestic laws and policies.