UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS
BY SREEJITA GHOSH
BA LLB SEC-B
III rd SEM
The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body
within the United Nations system responsible for
strengthening the promotion and protection of 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 human rights issues
and situations that require its attention throughout the
year. It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.
The Council is made up of 47 United Nations Member
States which are elected by the UN General Assembly.
The Human Rights Council replaced the former United
Nations Commission on Human Rights.
• The Council was created by the United
Nations General Assembly on 15 March 2006
by resolution 60/251. 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.
• The institution building package includes : UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW MECHANISM
UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW
• A key component of the Council consists in a
periodic review of all 193 UN member states,
called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
• The new mechanism is based on reports
coming from different sources, one of them
being contributions from NGOs. Each
country's situation will be examined during a
• The Universal Periodic Review is an evolving
process; the Council, may review the periodicity
of this mechanism, based on best practices and
• The following terms and procedures were set :1) Reviews are to occur over a four-year period (48
countries per year). Accordingly, the 192
countries that are members of the United
Nations shall normally all have such a "review" .
2) The order of review should follow the
principles of universality and equal treatment.
3) All Member States of the Council will be
reviewed while they sit at the Council and the
initial members of the Council will be first.
4)Review will be done in alphabetical order.
• The complaint procedure allows an examination
of such complaints which reveal the existence of
a consistent pattern of gross and reliably attested
violations of human rights and fundamental
freedoms. Once the Council received several
individual cases which form a consistent pattern
of gross systematic human rights violations which
are reliably proved, it can decide to examine the
situation of the human rights in the country
• The complaint must comprise of :1. The name of the author of the complaint, i.e.
the name of the person(s) or organization(s)
who file(s) the complaint. The claimant has to
precise it clearly, if he or she wishes the case to
be treated anonymously.
2. A description of the facts, comprising: the
identification of the victims and suspects of the
violation, accompanied by a detailed description
of the events when the violation took place.
3. Apparent evidence, such as written
declarations on the facts by the victims, their
families or witnesses of the violation, or a
medical report indicating the consequences of
the violation. The evidence can be included in
the complaint itself or attached to it.
• The advisory committee has been established
to function as a think tank for the council and
work at its direction. The committee held its
first meeting in August 2008.
The committee is composed of 18
independent members from different
professional backgrounds representing
various regions of the world.
• The Advisory Committee provides expertise to
the council in the manner and form requested
by it. It mainly focuses on studies and research
• It shall not adopt resolutions or decisions.
REVIEWING OF RESOLUTION
The founding resolution of the Human Rights
Council provides in operative paragraph 1 that the
General Assembly shall review the status of the
Council within five years.
In operative paragraph 16 of the same resolution
the General Assembly also decided that the Human
Rights Council shall review its work and functioning
five years after its establishment and report to the
• The members of the Council would be elected
by the General Assembly to ensure that the
election procedure was more representative.
• Prospective candidates would have to make
pledges and commitments, which the
members of the General Assembly would have
to take into account when voting.
If a Member State of the Council committs gross
and systematic violations of human rights during
its tenure, membership could be suspended by a
two-thirds majority vote in the General
Member States would not be eligible to
immediate re-election after two consecutive
THE RESOLUTION INCLUDES THE
FOLLOWING MANDATES FOR THE
COUNCIL :• Promote universal respect for the protection
of all human rights and fundamental freedoms
for all, without distinction of any kind and in
fair and equal manner.
• Address situations of violations of human
rights, including gross and systematic
violations and make recommendations
• Promote human rights education and learning
as well as advisory services and technical
assistance , to be provided in consultation
with the consent of Member States
• Contribute , towards the prevention of human
rights violations and respond promptly to
human rights emergencies.
• Work in close cooperation in the field of
human rights with Governments, regional
organizations, national human rights
institutions and civil Society.
• Submit an annual report to the General
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL AND
Norms and treaty creation- it is something more
than political to civil liberties to economic, social
and cultural rights to racial discrimination to the
rights of women, children, migrant workers and
more recently disabled.
Monitoring of rights- human rights monitoring
has matured and developed considerably.
• Response to atrocities-whether war
crimes, genocide or crime against humanity;
all of these have been a major focus in the
• Protection of women’s and children’s rights
• Other group rights-Racism and other forms of
xenophobia have been a major focus.
• Protecting human rights is an important goal
for every individual and for society as a whole.
The Human Rights Commission staff work
hard to ensure compliance with human rights
laws. The Commission also works to help the
public gain a better understanding of the
importance of protecting all people from
violation of their human rights.