Human rights defenders
One of the main counterparts of the Special Rapporteur are the human rights defenders themselves. For example, she will meet with the human rights defenders in order to enrich her reflection with their stories, personal experiences and their knowledge of the field and of the situation of human rights.
These exchanges enable the Special Rapporteur to learn about the needs and difficulties of the defenders in order to make, with the means at her disposal within the scope of her mandate, the most appropriate responses as possible. These meetings may occur in different contexts: specific appointments, consultations, conferences, trainings, etc.
More generally speaking, the Special Rapporteur can count civil society actors among her partners including NGOs, academics and experts. By collaborating with the relevant actors of the civil society in human rights issues, the Special Rapporteur can better fulfil the objectives of her mandate. Employees of NGOs, academics, experts or any other actors of civil society can put their experience and their extensive knowledge in favour of the mandate on the situation of human rights defenders.
The Special Rapporteur also has partners at different levels: international, regional and state.
UN bodies and agencies
At the international level, the Special Rapporteur may have as partners the other Special Rapporteurs, United Nations agencies or United National regional offices.
Indeed, when sending a communication to a State about the situation of a human rights defender, the Special Rapporteur may add her signatures and endorse the ones of other Special Rapporteurs. For example, when the violation suffered by the defender also relates to the mandate of other Special Rapporteurs, all relevant Special Rapporteurs will jointly sign it so as to give more strength to the communication.
Likewise, when the Special Rapporteur is on an official visit in a specific country, she comes into contact with the United Nations regional office competent in the visited area in order to consult its agents on their comments about the situation of human rights defenders.
At the regional level, the Special Rapporteur can work with regional mechanisms protecting human rights. By cooperating with these mechanisms, the Special Rapporteur shares experiences and information, which allow them to compare and strengthen the working methods of each, as, when it is possible, to define common goals.
These regional mechanisms are, among others: the African Commission on Human rights and people’s rights and its Special Rapporteur for human rights defenders; the Inter-American Commission for human rights and its Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders; the Council of Europe and its Commissioner for human rights competent for human rights defenders issues; the European Union and its Guidelines regarding human rights defenders; and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and its Office for democratic institutions and human rights.
Finally, the Special Rapporteur can exchange and work with relevant state actors for human rights defenders. Above all, the Special Rapporteur will collaborate with States authorities, including members of governments, national and local representatives, etc. As for official visits or sends communications, her key partners are the State authorities.
However, she can also work with all the actors already mentioned acting at the national level such as academics, association, experts, etc.