The task of the Special Rapporteur is to assess the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, report publicly about it, and work with governments, civil society and others to foster international cooperation. The Special Rapporteur undertakes regular visits or missions to the Occupied Palestinian Territory and reports annually to the Human Rights Council. OHCHR provides him with logistical and technical assistance. The current Special Rapporteur is Mr. S. Michael Lynk (Canada), who was appointed in 2016.
The mandate of the Special Rapporteur derives from the 1993 resolution from the Committee of Human Rights. The mandate calls on the Special Rapporteur:
(a) To investigate Israel’s violations of the principles and bases of international law, international humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967;
(b) To receive communications, to hear witnesses, and to use such modalities of procedure as he may deem necessary for his mandate;
(c) To report, with his conclusions and recommendations, to the Commission on Human Rights at its future sessions, until the end of the Israeli occupation of those territories;
The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council to follow and report on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Special Rapporteurs are not United Nations staff members; they do not receive a salary from the United Nations, and do not work for any government or interest group, allowing them to maintain their independence. The Special Rapporteur’s status as an independent expert makes him distinct from the OHCHR Country Office. OHCHR in Geneva provides secretariat services to the Special Rapporteur, as it does to all Special Procedures mandate-holders.