They are teams of experts that act as auxiliary bodies of the UN CHR, as part of its special procedures, whose function is to analyze, monitor and publicly report on human rights situations in specific countries or regions, or on a specific phenomenon, global dimensions, violation of human rights. In other words, the Working Groups can have geographic or thematic mandates, at the same time that they can focus on the revision or elaboration of normative proposals (Valencia Villa, 2003: 195).
The members of the Working Groups are appointed by the president of the CHR, after consulting with the five regional groups made up of Member States of the Commission; They carry out their work without receiving remuneration and for a maximum period of six years.
At the request of the CHR, the OHCHR provides the Working Groups with personnel and technical and logistical assistance for the development of their mandates.
From time to time the CHR identifies areas where existing standards need to be developed to address new and growing concerns. In terms of drafting norms, the CHR has the Working Group on Guidelines on Structural Adjustment and its Consequences for Human Rights and the Working Group on the Draft Declaration on Human Rights of Indigenous Populations.
In the practice of the CHR there have been various Working Groups with geographical mandates, such as the Special Group of Experts for Southern Africa (which concluded its work in 1995), the ad hoc Working Group on Chile (which was succeeded by a special rapporteur, whose mandate expired in 1990). Currently, the CNDH does not have Working Groups by country, but rather develops its monitoring through independent experts (Afghanistan, Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Liberia, Somalia, Sudan and Uzbekistan), personal representatives of the High Commissioner of the United Nations for Human Rights (Cuba) and special representatives of the UN Secretary General (Cambodia).
Regarding the Working Groups with thematic mandates, the CHR currently has the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Working Group on Persons of African Descent.
The Working Groups can carry out various types of activities such as the preparation of studies, assistance in technical cooperation, monitoring and responding to individual complaints and carrying out promotional activities in general. Likewise, they can carry out visits to countries and present a report with their conclusions to the CHR. These visits are made at the request of the Working Groups or at the invitation of the country involved.
The Subcommission for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights also has Working Groups. Some meet prior to the Subcommittee's session period, either to prepare regulatory proposals or to promote and supervise the application of international instruments (such as the Working Group on All Contemporary Forms of Slavery, or the Group Working Group on the Rights of Persons Belonging to Minorities). Other Working Groups meet during the session (for example, the Working Group on Individual Communications under the 1503 procedure, the Working Group on Administration of Justice and the Working Group on Working Methods of the Commission) (Valencia Villa , 2004: 127-128).
If the communications from individuals or organizations received by the Subcommission's Communications Working Group reveal a pattern of serious human rights violations in a country, the matter may be referred to the corresponding CHR Working Group or to the Subcommission itself ( see Universal System for the Protection of Human Rights, definition and structure of the ).