United Nations Human Rights Council

Overview

The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system, made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly, responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them. 

It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year. It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.

The Council was created by the United Nations General Assembly on 15 March 2006 by resolution 60/251, replacing the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Its first session took place from 19 to 30 June 2006. One year later, the Council adopted its “Institution-building package” to guide its work and set up its procedures and mechanisms.

Among them were the Universal Periodic Review mechanism which serves to assess the human rights situations in all United Nations Member States, the Advisory Committee which serves as the Council’s “think tank” providing it with expertise and advice on thematic human rights issues and the Complaint Procedure which allows individuals and organizations to bring human rights violations to the attention of the Council.

The Human Rights Council also works with the UN Special Procedures established by the former Commission on Human Rights and now assumed by the Council. These are made up of special rapporteurs, special representatives, independent experts and working groups that monitor, examine, advise and publicly report on thematic issues or human rights situations in specific countries.

Commitee Level:

Moderate

Committee Strength:

47

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