United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

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  • It is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system
  • It is responsible for promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.
  • It was created by UNGA on 15 March 2006 by adopting resolution 60/251 to promote human rights globally.
  • It had replaced former UN Commission on Human Rights.
  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

  • Members: 
    • UNHRC is made up of 47 UN member states which are elected by UN General Assembly (UNGA) with specific number of seats allocated for each region of the globe.
    • The term of each seat is three years, and no member may occupy a seat for more than two consecutive terms.
  • Functions: 
    • Members of the council work to engage countries on improving human rights.
    • They make decisions ranging from exposing violations to recommending that UN Security Council make referral to International Criminal Court (ICC).
    • UNJRC does not have authority to take action but can exert significant pressure on violating country.
    • It can also set up special rapporteurs with mandate to investigate and report human-rights violations and abuses.
    • The council works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and engages the United Nations’ special procedures.
    • The General Assembly can suspend the rights and privileges of any Council member that it decides has persistently committed gross and systematic violations of human rights during its term of membership.
    • The suspension process requires a two-thirds majority vote by the General Assembly.
  • United States under President Donald Trump Administration had withdrawn from UNHRC after it questioned legitimacy of the council

because of presence of several dictatorial regimes violating human rights.

  • Why in news? India was elected to United Nations’ Human Rights Council’, the main body of UN charged with promoting and monitoring human rights for period of three years beginning January 1, 2019.