he 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 making 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.
Features of UNHRC
- 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.
- 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 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 General Assembly takes into account the contribution of the candidate states to the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as their voluntary pledges and commitments in this regard.
- Seats on the Council are distributed as follows:
. African States: 13 seats
. Asia-Pacific States: 13 seats
. Latin American and Caribbean States: 8 seats
. Western European and other States: 7 seats
. Eastern European States: 6 seats
- The Human Rights Council holds no fewer than three regular sessions a year, for a total of at least 10 weeks. The meetings take place for four weeks in March, for three weeks in June, and for another three weeks in September. The sessions are held at the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland.
- Members of the Council serve for a period of three years, and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms. As of January 1, 2019, 114 UN Member States have served on the HRC.