1. Special procedures are mandated by the Human Rights Council to report to it on their activities (see Annex).
2. In 2009, the sixteenth annual meeting of special procedures mandate holders decided that a joint communications report would be prepared (cf. A/HRC/12/47, para 24-26), with this decision being reconfirmed by the seventeenth annual meeting of special procedures in 2010 in order to avoid duplication, rationalize documentation, allow examination of cross cutting issues and ensure that the content of communications and any follow-up would feed into the universal periodic review mechanism more effectively. Mandate holders decided that the report should contain summaries of communications, and statistical information (A/HRC/15/44, para. 26-27).
3. The Outcome of the review of the work and functioning of the Human Rights Council calls on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to maintain information on special procedures in a comprehensive and easily accessible manner, and encourages the use of modern information technology to reduce the circulation of paper (A/HRC/RES/16/21, Annex, para. 29 and 60).
4. Short summaries of allegations communicated to the respective State or other entity are included in the report, and the communications sent and responses received are accessible electronically through hyperlinks. Communications are reproduced in the language in which they were sent. Replies received in Arabic, Chinese or Russian are included with translations into English, where available.
5. This report covers all urgent appeals, letters of allegations and other letters sent by special procedures mandate holders between 1 March 2013 and 31 May 2013 and replies received between 1 May and 31 July 2013. Communications sent before 1 March 2013 are reported in A/HRC/23/51, A/HRC/22/67, A/HRC/22/67 corr.1 and corr.2, A/HRC/21/49, A/HRC/20/30, A/HRC/19/44 and A/HRC/18/51 respectively.
6. The report also includes replies received between 1 May 2013 and 31 July 2013, relating to communications sent by special procedures mandate holders before 1 March 2013. Some of these replies supplement information communicated earlier by the respective State.
7. The present report contains urgent appeals sent by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and joint urgent appeals sent by them together with other mandates. It does not contain other types of communications issued by these mandates, which are processed according to their own distinctive procedures, and are reported in the annual reports of these two working groups.
8. The names of some alleged victims have been obscured in order to protect their privacy and prevent further victimization. Names of victims who would otherwise have their identities protected are mentioned only when the concerned individual has expressly consented or requested to have his or her name in the public report. In the original communications, the full names of the alleged victims were provided to the Government concerned. Names of alleged perpetrators have systematically been darkened in State replies to preserve the presumption of innocence.
9. In preparing the statistics included in this report, uniform reporting periods have been used, reflecting all communications sent between 1 March 2013 and 31 May 2013, and responses received in relation to these communications up to 31 July 2013.