Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities


The Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities is one of the thematic special procedures overseen by the United Nations Human Rights Council. Relying on the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Special Rapporteur promotes the rights of persons with disabilities by engaging in dialogue with States and other stakeholders, consulting with persons with disabilities and their representatives, supporting national efforts to realize the rights of persons with disabilities, and offering recommendations on how to promote and enforce the relevant standards, bearing in mind the implications of gender in his or her work.


The mandate of the Special Rapporteur lasts for a period of three years and is filled by one highly qualified individual.

The UN Human Rights Council established the Special Rapporteurship in 2014 with Resolution 26/20. In fulfilling the mandate, the Special Rapporteur makes country visits, reviews complaints, and reports annually to the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council.

Country Visits

One important function of the Special Rapporteur is to conduct country visits, which is done at the invitation of the country concerned. Country visits allow the Special Rapporteur to examine the state of human rights with respect to persons with disabilities in that country. The Special Rapporteur then reports the findings to the Human Rights Council and proposes ways in which the human rights situation of persons with disabilities can be improved in the visited nation.

A list of past country visits and their accompanying reports can be viewed on the Special Rapporteur’s webpage.

More than 100 countries have extended standing invitations to country visits by all thematic special procedures. View the list of countries that have extended standing invitations here.

Receiving Information & Complaints

The Special Rapporteur receives information and complaints regarding alleged violations of the rights of persons with disabilities. The Special Rapporteur does not make determinations regarding individual complaints but does use the information received to bring the issue to the attention of the State concerned; the Special Rapporteur may request clarification from the government or that the government investigate, prevent, or remedy the alleged violations. These exchanges between the Special Rapporteur and States are called “communications” and  can take one of two forms – an allegation letter or an urgent appeal.

Allegation Letters

Generally, the Special Rapporteur sends an allegation letter to a State when the alleged violation has already occurred, relates to a general pattern of violations, or is not so pressing as to warrant the issuance of an urgent appeal. An allegation letter generally contains a request for the government to clarify the substance of the allegation and to forward any information related to the allegation to the Special Rapporteur.

Urgent Appeals

Urgent appeals are reserved for cases in which there is sufficiently reliable information to indicate that an individual’s human rights may be violated and that the situation is time sensitive, such that failure to act in a timely manner could result in loss of life or grave harm. The Special Rapporteur sends urgent appeals to the governments of States where individuals or groups are facing such threats and an allegation letter is unlikely to address the situation in a timely enough manner.

Reports to the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council

The Special Rapporteur reports annually to the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council on all activities related to its mandate. These reports are available on the Special Rapporteur’s webpage.


Complaints should be submitted to the Special Rapporteur using the online submission form. Complaints should contain as much detail as possible, so the Special Rapporteur has the necessary information to decide how to proceed. Alleged victims and their families or representatives must also indicate in their submissions whether they consent to having the names of the alleged victims revealed to the government concerned and published in a public report to the Human Rights Council.

Complaints should include the following minimum information:

  • identity and contact details of the source of the information,
  • identity of each alleged victim,
  • informed consent of each alleged victim,
  • identity of alleged perpetrator of violations (if known),
  • description of circumstances of events and violations in chronological order, and
  • steps taken by victims, families, or representatives.

Complaints may also be submitted by:

  • Mail:

Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities
c/o Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
CH-1211 Geneva 10

  • Email: sr.disability@ohchr.org