Unit on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
MANDATE OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, CULTURAL, AND ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS
The Special Rapporteurship on Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights is one of the special mechanisms overseen by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The Commission first created a Unit on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights during its 146th Session in 2012. See, e.g., IACHR, Press Release, No. 134/12, 16 November 2012. In April 2014, the Commission decided to begin the process of transforming the Unit into a Special Rapporteurship. See IACHR, Press Release, No. 34/14, 3 April 2014. In July 2017, it named Soledad García Muñoz as the first Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights. See IACHR, Press Release, No. 90/17, 5 July 2017.
The Special Rapporteurship’s purpose is to monitor, promote, evaluate, and provide opinions on these rights and their enjoyment throughout the Organization of American States (OAS) Member States. Within the IACHR, the Special Rapporteur works to build the institutional knowledge and to incorporate consideration of economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights into all areas of the IACHR’s work.
COMPOSITION AND WORKING METHODS
The Special Rapporteur is an outside expert chosen by the Commission through an open selection process, in which States and civil society may also provide input. The Special Rapporteur is appointed for a three-year term, which is renewable once.
The Special Rapporteurship has many duties, including conducting country visits to OAS Member States, undertaking specialized studies, and preparing publications. The Special Rapporteur also advises the Commission in its processing of individual petitions, cases, and requests for provisional and precautionary measures that involve economic, social and cultural rights.
The Special Rapporteur conducts country visits to OAS Member States, with their consent. The Commissioner in charge is often accompanied by other members of the Commission or members of the Executive Secretariat staff. During country visits, the Commissioner engages with government officials and civil society organizations. The visits allow the Commissioner to expand his or her understanding of the challenges facing the enforcement of economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights, and to garner support for their implementation. Brief descriptions of the Special Rapporteurship’s country visits may be found within the Commission’s annual reports.
Aside from information gathered during country visits, the Special Rapporteur may obtain information through promotional activities on economic, social and cultural rights. For example, the Unit (the Special Rapporteurship’s predecessor) had been invited to participate in workshops, panels, and specialized meetings of international experts on economic, social and cultural rights.
Additionally, the Commission holds thematic hearings to gather information from States and civil society on particular issues. The Special Rapporteur may participate in these hearings or refer to the information discussed in subsequent reports. View the Commission’s searchable database of public hearings to see those related to economic, social and cultural rights.
The Special Rapporteur is tasked with publishing thematic reports and studies on issues affecting economic, social and cultural rights. Thematic reports involving economic, social and cultural rights may be found on the Commission’s webpage. The Special Rapporteur has a duty to provide the Commission with annual reports of its activities, which the Commission then shares in its own Annual Reports to the OAS General Assembly. To view reports on the Special Rapporteur’s activities, see the Commission’s annual reports page.
The Special Rapporteurship may be contacted by:
Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
1889 F Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Special Rapporteur does not receive individual complaints or requests for precautionary measures. Such petitions and requests must be addressed to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. For additional information, see the petition form or IJRC’s resources on the Inter-American human rights system.