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Social justice advocates in the United States are increasingly using the human rights mechanisms of the United Nations to advance their domestic advocacy on issues ranging from criminal justice to access to health care. These mechanisms offer unique opportunities for U.S. advocates to mobilize grassroots communities, raise public awareness, exert international pressure, and engage with local, state, and national government officials around local human rights concerns. The U.N. special procedures are among the more versatile of the U.N. human rights mechanisms.

This report explores ways in which U.S. advocates are making effective use of the U.N. special procedures. Based on interviews with over forty individuals, including human rights advocates, current and former special procedures mandate-holders, and current and former government officials, the report shares successful examples and offers recommendations for how to increase the effectiveness of domestic advocacy efforts. The report provides an inside perspective on both the challenges and opportunities of working with the U.N. special procedures as part of a larger domestic advocacy strategy.