The UN Secretary-General, by a mandate of the UN Human Rights Council, can appoint rapporteurs on certain thematic issues or on the human rights situation of any specific country. Some of thematic rapporteurs are actually working groups, all taken together are also called the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Rapporteurs investigate and monitor human rights problems and recommend solutions.
In general, UN Country Rapporteurs are appointed to serve for one year, with the possibility of renewing the term every year. They receive personnel and logistical support from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
On 1 December 2009, three UN Country Rapporteurs have been appointed for dealing with Africa, covering Somalia, Burundi and Sudan. Other recent country mandates covered Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The most recent list on Country Rapporteurs currently appointed to deal with African countries can be found here: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/chr/special/countries.htm
Country Rapporteurs are not an instrument to claim individual human rights; however, their in-depth reports on the human rights situation of any country may therefore be instrumental to frame any individual case originating from that country.