The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body that functions within the United Nations system which has long strived to solve the problems related to the violations of human rights. The Council superseded the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on March 15, 2006, with the adoption of resolution 60/251 by the General Assembly. The Human Rights Council has 47 Member States which are elected by the General Assembly and these Member States that are holding seats in the council are 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. The council also plays a great role in the fight against all forms of discrimination.
The United Nations Human Rights Council is responsible for the promotion and monitoring of human rights worldwide through the establishment of Special Procedures. Special Procedures are experts or a group of experts that advise and work on human rights issues. In order to maintain their impartiality, these experts are not UN staff and they work in accordance with their personal capabilities and are not paid a salary, furthermore they do not represent their country of citizenship. This system of Special Procedures is a key element of the United Nations human rights mechanism and covers all civil, political, cultural, economic, and social human rights. As of September 30, 2016 there are 43 thematic and 14 country mandates.
One of the major components of the Human Rights Council is the Universal Periodic Review. It is a unique process in which all human rights records of all 193 UN Member States are reviewed in a periodic manner. It consolidates the idea of equal treatment for every country and provides the countries the opportunity to declare what measures they have taken to improve the human rights in their countries. The UPR was established at the same time as the Human Rights Council, by the UN General Assembly in resolution 60/251. The reviews are conducted by 47 members of the UPR Working Group and this group consists of the 47 members of the Human Rights Council.
The Human Rights Council’s work is intended to be inclusive of every human rights issue and open to engagement and review, even though the polarization and self-repetition among members has been an obstacle, criticized by many, which has led to the missed opportunities to have genuine debates.
Under Secretary General: Tuna Öğüt
Academic Assistant: Duygu Çınar