UN Human Rights Special Procedures Brochure
"Special procedures" is the name given to the mechanisms, such as Independent Experts or Special Rapporteurs established by the United Nations to monitor, examine, advise and publicly report on a thematic issue (thematic mandates) or on a human rights situation in a specific country (country mandates).
I found the following fact to be very important (and somewhat reassuring), given the controversies surrounding alleged attempts by many undemocratic countries to dominate and thwart the work of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights:
"Special procedures’ mandate holders are independent; selected among prominent experts from different backgrounds and appointed to serve in their personal capacity for a maximum of 6 years. They are unpaid and not staff members of the United Nations and are supported by OHCHR in their activities."The brochure provides an overview of activities, such as country visits, thematic events, joints activities, reports, communications and press statements. The document also provides some examples of the impact of special procedures' work on the ground.