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Human Rights Council (2006- )

The Human Rights Council is 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.

  • Human Rights Council (HRC) website
  • Established by General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006
  • Meets in Geneva, in regular session three times annually and in special session as needed
  • Reports to the General Assembly
  • Working document series symbol
  • Meeting records
    • A/HRC/session/SR.-
    • example: A/HRC/48/SR.45
    • Webcasts are available for most open, formal meetings of the HRC
    • Unofficial meeting summaries may be found in Press Releases from the UN Office at Geneva News and Media and the OHCHR Media Centre websites.
    • Summary records were prepared from the 1st (2006) to the 6th (2007) sessions
    • As of 2011, preparation of summary records was postponed indefinitely (see para. 2.56(a) of A/66/6 (Sect.2))
    • As of 2021, decision 47/114, Strengthening documentation within the Human Rights Council, “decides that summary records shall be taken for meetings at which the Human Rights Council takes action on proposals and adopts the report on each session, starting from its forty-eighth session” (see page 244 of A/76/53)
    • No meeting records from 2007-2021, see details for alternative resources for information
    • Search results for HRC meeting records in the UN Digital Library
  • Sessional reports 
    • Supplement 53 to the General Assembly Official Records (GAOR)
    • A/session/53 and A/session/53/Add.1
    • example: A/70/53 + Add.1
    • These reports cover all regular sessions and any special sessions held since the previous reporting period
    • Search results for the Report of the Human Rights Council
    • According to the UNOG Human Rights Timeline:
      • Starting with the 2nd session, there are two types of the sessional reports of the Human Rights Council.
      • Reports to the General Assembly, issued as Supplement 53 with a symbol structured as A/session/53, contain resolutions with voting information and decisions adopted by the Council.
      • Sessional reports, issued with a symbol structured as A/HRC/session number/..., contain resolutions with voting information and decisions adopted by the Council; as well as a summary of proceedings, attendance, agenda and list of documents issued for the session.
  • Press releases
  • Human Rights Council resolution 5/1 of 18 June 2007, "Institution-building of the United Nations Human Rights Council", sets out the main mechanisms and subsidiary bodies of the Council; General Assembly resolution 62/219 of 22 December 2007, inter alia, endorses the decision of the Human Rights Council to adopt resolution 5/1. The text of Human Rights Council resolution 5/1 is found in its report to the General Assembly for its 5th session (A/62/53).
  • Human Rights Council resolutions have been issued as separate documents since 2010. Resolutions and decisions may be retrieved through the Charter-based bodies database.

Available translations:

Subsidiary Bodies of the Human Rights Council

Universal Periodic Review Working Group (2007- )

General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006, which established the Human Rights Council, mandates a universal periodic review of each state's fulfilment of its human rights obligations and commitments. Human Rights Council resolution 5/1 of 18 June 2007, “Institution-building of the United Nations Human Rights Council,” sets out the main elements of the universal periodic review.

  • Universal Periodic Review Working Group carries out the review
  • Meets in three sessions per year
  • At each session, sixteen countries are reviewed
  • A four year-cycle to complete review of all 193 Member States of the UN
  • Working documents series symbol
  • Reports:
    • The Working Group does not issue sessional reports that cover all the activities of the Working Group during the course of one session
    • A report of the Working Group is issued for each country that summarizes the meetings held and includes conclusions or recommendations
    • Symbol pattern:
  • The OHCHR has developed a special database for the documentation related to the universal periodic review.

Human Rights Council Advisory Committee (2007- )

The Human Rights Council Advisory Committee is an expert body that functions as a think-tank for the Council.

  • Advisory Committee website
  • Established by Human Rights Council resolution 5/1 of 18 June 2007 (in A/62/53)
  • Composed of 18 experts serving in their personal capacity
  • Advisory Committee supercedes the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
  • Working document series symbol:
  • Reports to HRC on specific topics:
    • Symbol pattern: A/HRC/session/-
    • example: A/HRC/21/66;
  • Sessional reports submitted to HRC:
    • Symbol pattern: A/HRC/session/-
    • example: A/HRC/21/56

Special Procedures (1947- )

The Human Rights Council has responsibility for the special procedures, including those originally established by the Commission on Human Rights.

Special procedure mechanisms include:

  • special rapporteurs
  • special representatives
  • independent experts
  • working groups

Special procedures investigate, discuss, and report on specific human rights issues under a country mandate or thematic mandate.

  • Reports of the special procedures are issued under a variety of document symbols
    • They may report on their topic to a principal organ, the Human Rights Council, or to a subsidiary body
    • Documents take the symbol of the body to which the report is submitted
  • Since 2006, documents generally issued under the series symbol:
  • Prior to 2006, documents were usually issued under the series symbols:
  • The OHCHR special procedures website provides the most current information
  • Since 1994, the special procedures have met annually as a group. Report of this meeting is transmitted by a note of the High Commissioner.

Available Translations

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