UNHRC

UNHRC is United Nations Human Rights Council. The headquarters of UNHRC is located in Geneva, Switzerland. It promotes and protects human rights all over the world. It was established in 2006.

Key Facts for UPSC Examination

  • It works in accordance with the OHCHR (Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights)
  • It replaced the UN Commission on Human rights as it faced criticism that its members themselves were human rights abusers
  • The Universal Periodic Review assess that human rights situation in all the members of the United Nations.

Members of UNHRC

There are 47 seats in the United Nations Human Rights Council. The seats are elected by the members of United Nations General Assembly. Of these, 13 are allocated for Asia, 13 for Africa, eight for Latin America and Caribbean, six for Eastern Europe and seven for Western European countries. The UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) has rights to suspend the membership of any country. The suspension succeeds if two-third members of the General Assembly are in favour.

Sessions

The regular sessions of UNHRC are held thrice a year. It is usually conducted in March, June and September.

Issues

The major issue that arises with UNHRC is related to the membership. Sometimes, the composition of the council includes countries that are widely perceived as human rights abusers. They are Cuba, China, Russia, Eritrea and Venezuela.

Universal Periodic Review Working Group

It monitors the 193 members of the UN through reports from NGOs, and also from other sources. Every nation is examined through a three-and-a-half-hour debate.

Complaints

The complaints procedure of UNHRC was established in 2007. It reports human rights violations by the UN members. There are two working groups. They are Working Group on Communication (WGC) and Working Group on Situations (WGS). The WGC determines if a complaint deserves investigation. The WGS meets twice a year and examines the replies of the concerned states (against whom the complaint was filed).

Advisory Committee of UNHRC

It was created in 2007. The member composition of the committee are as follows

  • Asia: 5
  • Africa: 5
  • Caribbean and Latin America: 3
  • Western Europe: 3
  • Eastern Europe: 3

It provides advice to the council based on its studies in discriminatory practices on the basis of religion, race, language and ethnicity.

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