URGENT APPEALS TO THE UN SPECIAL PROCEDURES
To monitor the implementation of United Nations conventions by the member states, a system of Special Procedures exists. These Special Procedures, usually called either a special rapporteur or a working group, are each responsible for covering either a specific issue, such arbitrary detention (thematic) or a specific country (country specific).
If a country which has ratified a specific treaty or convention then violates that treaty or convention, individuals can file an Urgent Appeal to the relevant Special Procedure. The Special Procedure can then send a communication to the government of that country asking about the violation. These inquiries have proved to be quite effective in preventing further violations against individuals on whose behalf an Urgent Appeal has been submitted.
To file an Urgent Appeal, you need to consider a number of issues. First off, you have to ensure you have plenty of information on the person suffering the violation(s), information on the violation itself, and who is perpetrating it. Your Urgent Appeal should follow the form linked below, and should be as exhaustive as possible. The Urgent Appeal must present objective, verifiable information, and should not be a one-sided argument against the government – the information submitted should be trustworthy – your Urgent Appeal should be based on logic and objectiveness, not pathos.
- Specify the receiving special Procedure in your email's subject line;
- Provide all the information required;
- Contain no overtly political language.
After submission it might be useful to circulate the Urgent Appeal to members of the press corps and submit it to diplomatic missions (embassies) to further increase pressure. Diplomatic missions will sometimes act in a manner similar to the UN Special Procedure and either make inquiries to the government or make a statement on behalf of a persecuted human rights defender.
- Special Procedures for specific countries: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/chr/special/countries.htm
- Special Procedures for specific issues: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/chr/special/themes.htm
- Contact information: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/chr/special/communications.htm (always specify the Special Procedure you're sending your Urgent Appeal to in the subject line of your email or letter)
- Form to be filled out http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/chr/special/questionnaires.htm (Select the one most appropriate for your Urgent Appeal)
CHINESE URGENT ACTION WORKING GROUP
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