E. Tendayi Achiume is a core Promise faculty member and 2023 MacArthur Fellow who stewarded our International Human Rights Clinic for many years. In late 2022, she concluded her service as the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

Special Rapporteurs are selected by the UN Human Rights Council to advise the UN on their specific mandate. Professor Achiume was the first woman to serve as UNSR on Racism since the position’s inception in 1993.

What is the Special Rapporteur’s Mandate?

The UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism is an independent human rights expert who is appointed by the UN Human Rights Council and serves for a term of three years, with the possibility of a one-term renewal.

The UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of its Special Procedures body of independent experts. These experts conduct independent fact-finding and monitor thematic issues or specific country situations. They are not employed or paid by the UN. Their work is conducted on a voluntary basis, and is independent from governments or organizations. 

Globally, millions of people continue to be the victims of racism, racial discrimination, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and related intolerance. The Special Rapporteur on Racism monitors the contemporary and evolving forms of these injustices, including transmitting urgent appeals and communications to States regarding alleged violations of international law. They also undertake fact-finding country visits and submit reports to the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly. 

For a full list of what the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism monitors, click here.

Thematic Reports

What is a thematic report? 

The Special Rapporteur submits annual thematic reports to the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly. A thematic report is a human rights examination of a broader, cross-cutting issue from a thematic perspective—in this case, contemporary forms of racism. In preparing a thematic report, the Special Rapporteur investigates country conditions and consults governments, experts, international NGOs, members of civil society, as well as other studies and literature.

Country Visits

In addition to her thematic reports, the Special Rapporteur carries out official UN missions to select countries to determine the human rights issues and challenges related to the mandate in those national contexts.

Former Rapporteur Achiume’s Country Visits:

Race & Human Rights Reimagined Initiative

We’ve repackaged the former UN Special Rapporteur’s Thematic Reports into Fact Sheets, events and reports — making them accessible for students, practitioners and advocates who are interested in working on issues of racial justice and human rights.

Explore Our Catalog of Race & Human Rights Resources