During its 26th session (10 – 27 June 2014), the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) approved Resolution 26/20, creating the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (SRPD).

According to the resolution, the mandate of the SRPD should be guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and other relevant human rights instruments. Furthermore, its mandate allows the Special Rapporteur to work directly and intervene with all UN Member States, regardless of whether or not they ratified the UN CRPD. The Special Rapporteur is appointed for a period of three years.

IDA was actively involved in the inaugural nomination process of this mandate, providing information, guidance and producing documents to persons with disabilities, their representative organizations and relevant stakeholders in order to promote the highest level of candidatures.


By early August 2014, 22 candidates - six women and 16 men spread over five geographic regions - had applied to this mandate, as following:

  • African Region - Eight men candidates
  • Americas Region - Two women and a man
  • Asia Pacific Region - Three candidates are women and two men
  • Europe, North America and Central Asia Region - A man candidate
  • Middle East and North Africa Region - A woman and four men.

The HRC Consultative Group, responsible for the nomination, selection and appointment process should consider the following general criteria determined by the Resolution 5/1 and Annex, namely: expertise, experience in the field of the mandate, independence, impartiality, personal integrity and objectivity. Further, they should consider gender balance and equitable geographic representation.

Further information on the nomination process of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities as well as candidates and their application forms is available at www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/SRDisabilities.aspx

Compilation of SRPD candidates’ responses to IDA questionnaire

IDA prepared and circulated a questionnaire to candidates standing for the SRPD position. The questionnaire, which contains seven questions, aimed to seek further details about candidates’ views and experiences to provide additional information to the HRC Consultative Group and other State Missions, and to encourage appointment based on the individual’s qualifications and highest fulfilment of criteria as set out in the SRPD’s mandate.

All received responses have been assembled into a compilation, which presents the responses of nine out of the twenty two candidates standing for the position.

Shortlisted Candidates

On 9 September 2014, the Consultative Group published its Report relating to the vacancies of special procedures mandate holders to be appointed at the twenty-seventh session of the Human Rights Council. IDA has prepared an extract of the Consultative Group report, on the section dedicated to the selection process of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Consultative Group interviewed six shortlisted candidates for this vacancy and decided to recommend the following three applicants as best qualified to fulfil the mandate, ranking them in the following order of preference:

1. Ms Catalina DEVANDAS AGUILAR (Costa Rica)

2. Ms Pamela MOLINA TOLEDO (Chile)

3. Mr Lotfi BEN LALLAHOM (Tunisia)

The final decision of the President of the Human Rights Council, appointing Ms Catalina Devandas Aguilar, was published by 26 September 2014.