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6 The Emergence of Ad Hoc or Special Procedures (1966)

From: The United Nations Commission on Human Rights: 'A Very Great Enterprise'

John P. Pace

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 28 February 2021

Indigenous peoples — Freedom from slavery or forced labour — Torture — Detention — Gender — Right to peaceful assembly — Disappearances — Internally displaced persons — Terrorism

This chapter traces the origins of ad hoc or special procedures, and the evolution that led to one of the two main systems of implementation of international human rights norms—alongside the treaty system. Although the initial work on human rights had not taken up situations in specific countries, it was a matter of time until the Commission would find itself having to do so. The Commission added ‘the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms including policies of racial discrimination and segregation and of apartheid, in all countries’ to its agenda in 1966. The power to investigate was thoroughly discussed in 1966 and 1967. As the Commission added the study of violations of human rights as a standing item on its agenda, it came up with an interesting range of proposals, some of which served to enhance its role and responsibilities in the future. Following the International Conference on Human Rights in 1968, the Commission decided ‘to prepare model rules of procedure for ad hoc bodies of the United Nations entrusted with the study of particular situations alleged to reveal a consistent pattern of violations of human rights’. The chapter then describes the Commission’s action in respect of human rights situations in countries and thematic procedures and mandates.

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