Human Rights Council
With a clear majority, after months of intensive negotiations, the General Assembly took an historic step by adopting a resolution establishing the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 15 2006. The Human Rights Council replaced the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
The Council is based in Geneva, where its first session was held on June 19 2006.
Members of the Human Rights Council
The Member States are elected by a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly members present and voting. The Human Rights Council consists of 47 Member States elected for a period of three years. The General Assembly has the possibility to suspend any Member State violating human rights.
The Member States represent all regions of the world. In the Council there are
- 13 African seats
- 13 Asian seats
- 8 Latin American and Caribbean seats
- 7 Western European seats
- 6 Eastern European seats
All Member States have made pledges and commitments to human rights which they are expected to live up to.
Work of the Human Rights Council
The Human Rights Council holds regular sessions three times a year. It will also be able to convene to deal with urgent situations.
Universal Periodic Review
The peer review function, the Universal Periodic Review - UPR, is essential to the Human Rights Council. Its main task is to evaluate the fullfilment of all states of all their human rights and obligations.
Country mandates and Thematic mandates
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 complaint procedure
2007, the Human Rights Council established a new complaint procedure to address consistent patterns of gross and reliably attested violations of all human rights and all fundamental freedoms.
The complaint procedure addresses communications submitted by individuals, groups, or non-governmental organizations that claim to be victims of human rights violations or that have direct, reliable knowledge of such violations.
Like the former 1503 procedure, established by the former Commission on Human Rights, it is confidential with a view to enhance cooperation with the State concerned. The new complaint procedure has been improved, where necessary, to ensure that the procedure be impartial, objective, efficient, victims-oriented and conducted in a timely manner.
More on Human Rights Council
The individual documents from the Human Rights Council carry the following symbols
A/ General Assembly
-/HRC Human Rights Council
Ex. A/HRC/1/L.1 General Assembly, Human Rights Council, 1st session, document 1 L=limited distribution
- Human Rights Council. Background information as well as full text documents, news and press releases:
- Universal Periodic Review. National reports to the Human Rights Council.
- Session documents and resolutions.
- The organization UPR Info.
- The Human Rights Council's recommendations to the Swedish government:
- DagDok : Human Rights
Human Rights, conventions and declaration
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Swedish | in English
- Resolution 217 A (III) / (A/RES/217) adopted by the UN General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 during its 183rd plenary meeting.
- The Core International Human Rights Instruments and their monitoring bodies.
- Universal Human Rights Index - UHRI. Human rights recommendations from all parts of the UN system: the UN Treaty Monitoring Bodies, the Human Rights Council mechanisms Universal Periodic Review and Special Procedures. Each document links to other related information in the database.
- Charter-based Body Database. Documents and reports of the Human Rights Council, its predecessor and their subsidiaries and parent organs. Maintained by OHCHR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights).
- Treaty Body Database. Full text documents from the UN human rights treaty monitoring bodies.
- Yearbook on Human Rights 1946-1988
- OHCHR website for background information, documents and reports.
- Research guides by Dag Hammarskjöld Library:
UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases
- United Nations Digital Library offers UN documents and open access publications, UN voting data and speeches, UN maps, Content in 6+ languages. Replaces the traditional online catalogue UNBISnet.
- UN iLibrary UN publications online covering different topics.
- ODS full-text UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
- Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
- UNBIS Thesaurus a multilingual database of the controlled vocabulary used to describe UN documents.
- Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
- a list of all documents
- a comprehensive subject index
- an index to speeches
- a voting chart of resolutions
- United Nations Documents Index (United Nations Digital Library) References to all documents by subject area are published. A collection of indexes is held by the Dag Hammarskjöld and Law Library, Uppsala, and the Libraries at UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva.
- All UN documents from 1993-.
- All resolutions of the Principal Organs from 1946-.
- All Security Council plenary documents from 1946- in English, French and Spanish.
- All supplements to the General Assembly Official Records (GAOR) from 1946-.
- All General Assembly plenary meeting records from 1946- in English, French and Spanish.
- Older documents are being scanned: Update on UN Digitization Programme.