United Nations Human Rights Council

United Nations body tasked with the promotion of human rights

United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is a United Nations body whose mission is to promote and protect human rights around the world. The Council has 47 members elected for staggered three-year terms. They investigate allegations of breaches of human rights in United Nations member states, and address thematic human rights issues. Before 2006, its responsibilities were assumed by a similar organization known as the United Nations Human Rights Commission.


  • 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 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. 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.
  • The Task Force on Secretariat services, accessibility and use of information technology was established in July 2011. It is mandated to study issues related to the improvement of the secretariat services to the Council and its mechanisms, the accessibility to the Council’s work for persons with disabilities and the feasibility of the use of information technology.

Quotes about

  • UN Human Rights Council has appealed to increase humanitarian support to 3.5 million people including 700,000 from 2021 alone who were displaced due to the conflict in Afghanistan, the United Nations body said in a statement. Spokesperson of UNHCR... said... that around 23 million people, or 55 per cent of the population, are facing extreme levels of hunger - nearly nine million of whom are at risk of famine. UNHCR has assisted some 700,000 displaced people across the country in 2021, the majority since mid-August. Every week, the agency is helping nearly 60,000 people, according to the statement. "But as we reach thousands of people, we find thousands more people who are in need of humanitarian assistance", Baloch said, appealing for "further resources for the most vulnerable". He noted that "single mothers with no shelter or food for their children", displaced older persons left to care for orphaned grandchildren, and people taking care of loved ones with special needs.
  • Despite the high expectations that attended its birth, the eighteen-member CHR was immediately dominated by Cold War realities. Its chair, Eleanor Roosevelt, was kept on a tight leash by the US government, which was determined to thwart any binding obligations that interfered with “the internal problems of nations” and to use the commission’s forum mainly to castigate the Soviets’ misdeeds. The US and Soviet delegates both rejected proposals to allow an individual to petition the UN over human rights violations by his or her government. The two Superpowers were also behind the CHR’s momentous decision to split its task into three separate components: the drafting of a nonbinding declaration of principles, followed—at some indeterminate interval—by the conclusion of a human rights convention and, finally, the creation of a means of enforcement. The first task was completed within two years, but the second took twenty more, and the third still another year to come to life. By 1948 the Superpowers had effectively blocked the efforts of human rights activists and the smaller countries to play a significant role in global politics.
    • Carole C. Fink, The Cold War: An International History (2017), p. 66
  • It was my pleasure to speak to #AIPAC2019 today. My message was not only to reaffirm the essentiality of the U.S.-Israel relationship, but also that the U.S. stands with the Jewish people and Israel in the fight against the world’s oldest bigotry: anti-Semitism. The rise of anti-Semitism & anti-Zionism strikes at the very foundation of freedom. The Trump Administration opposes it unequivocally & will fight it relentlessly, from the fever swamp of the UN Human Rights Council to the world’s #1 proponent of anti-Semitism: Iran. We will not grow weary of this fight. Israel should be admired, not attacked, embraced, not vilified. I’m proud to lead American diplomacy to support Israel’s right to defend itself, stand with the Jewish people

See also


Wikipedia articles and lists


UN Human Rights Council – official homepage on the OHCHR website