Update: 19.08.2011

Human Rights Council - Structure and Operating Principles

The Human Rights Council reports directly to the General Assembly. It is composed of 47 states' representatives, who are elected by the General Assembly with an absolute majority of 96 states.

Electoral Process

The seats of the Human Rights Council are distributed according to the regional principle of the UN. 

The Council is led by one president and four vice-presidents that are elected by the five regional groups.

The electoral period for both seats and presidents and vice-presidents is three years. The Council is an independent organ that meets three to four times a year for an overall time span of at least ten weeks. The convening of special meetings is possible in urgent cases.

New Element: «Universal Periodic Review»

Member states review one another periodically (peer review) in the universal periodical review process. This process aims at preventing states that commit massive human rights abuses from becoming members of the Human Rights Council.  

Modus Operandi

In accordance with the founding resolution 60/251, the work of the Human Rights Council must be led by «principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations, including developing friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and achieving international cooperation in solving international problems». Politicizing, of which the Commission on Human Rights had been accused, was meant to be prevented. 


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