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UN Human Rights Council
The United Nations Human Rights Council or UN Council for Human Rights, often known as the UNHRC, plays a crucial role in making sure people all around the world are treated fairly and with dignity. It’s like a global watchdog that keeps an eye on how different countries respect and protect human rights. In this article, we will look into it in detail.
UN Council for Human Rights
The UNHRC was created to address human rights issues globally, with a specific focus on preventing human rights abuses, protecting individuals and communities at risk, and promoting the principles of equality, justice, and dignity. It was established through the adoption of Resolution 60/251 by the UN General Assembly on March 15, 2006, to replace the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, which had faced criticisms for its effectiveness and politicization.
The primary functions and responsibilities of the UNHRC include:
- Promoting Human Rights: The council promotes human rights globally through dialogue, cooperation, and capacity-building, helping countries improve their human rights records.
- Addressing Human Rights Violations: The UNHRC investigates and responds to human rights abuses, including through fact-finding missions and special rapporteurs who report on specific human rights issues.
- Universal Periodic Review (UPR): Every member state’s human rights record is examined through the UPR process, providing a platform for countries to discuss their achievements and challenges.
- Special Procedures: The council appoints independent experts, or special rapporteurs, to focus on specific human rights concerns, such as freedom of expression, torture, or minority rights.
The UNHRC holds regular sessions throughout the year, convening in Geneva, Switzerland. It operates through various subsidiary bodies, including the UPR Working Group, special rapporteurs, and expert advisory committees, which conduct research and make recommendations on human rights issues.
The council adopts resolutions and decisions on a wide range of human rights topics, addressing country-specific situations and thematic issues. These resolutions are non-binding but carry significant diplomatic weight and can influence global human rights standards.
UN Human Rights Council Headquarters
The headquarters of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is located in Geneva, Switzerland. The council holds its regular sessions and conducts its core activities at the Palais des Nations, which is a historic building situated in the Ariana Park area of Geneva.
UN Human Rights Council President
Ambassador Václav Bálek currently holds the prestigious position of President of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the year 2023. He assumed this role on December 9, 2022. As the President of the UNHRC, Ambassador Bálek plays a crucial role in leading and guiding the council’s activities and deliberations. His responsibilities include presiding over meetings, facilitating discussions on important human rights issues, and representing the council in various international forums.
UN Human Rights Council 2023 Members
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) consists of 47 member states. These member states are elected by the United Nations General Assembly, and they serve staggered three-year terms. The council is designed to be a representative body that includes countries from different regions of the world to ensure a diverse and balanced representation.
UNHRC members are elected by the United Nations General Assembly through a voting process. Member states of the General Assembly cast their votes to select the council’s members based on regional groupings. These regional groupings ensure that there is a fair distribution of seats among different geographic regions. Members are chosen for their commitment to upholding and promoting human rights.
Each member of the UN Human Rights Council serves a three-year term. The terms are staggered so that approximately one-third of the council’s seats are up for election each year. This staggered approach ensures continuity and stability within the council while allowing for new members to join and bring fresh perspectives. It also provides for a level of accountability, as member states’ human rights records can be reviewed during their term, and they can seek re-election if they choose to do so after their term expires.
Here is the list of members of the UN Human Rights Council in 2023.
|6||Bolivia (Plurinational State of)|
|43||United Arab Emirates|
UN Human Rights Council UPSC
The UN Human Rights Council is an essential topic for UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) aspirants as it aligns with various components of the UPSC syllabus, including International Relations, Governance, and Current Affairs. Understanding the functioning of international organizations like the UNHRC is crucial for the Mains examination, especially in the context of India’s foreign policy and global engagements. Additionally, UPSC Online Coaching and UPSC Mock Tests often incorporate questions related to international affairs and human rights, making familiarity with the UNHRC essential for exam preparation and success. It helps candidates stay updated with current global developments and enhances their ability to analyze and answer questions effectively in the UPSC Civil Services Examination.