United Nations Human Rights Council

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is an intergovernmental body within the United Nations system responsible for promoting and protecting human rights worldwide. It was established in 2006 to replace the previous United Nations Commission on Human Rights, with the aim of strengthening the UN's human rights machinery and addressing its shortcomings.

Membership: The UNHRC consists of 47 member states elected by the United Nations General Assembly. The members serve for three-year terms and are selected based on equitable geographical distribution. The council membership allows for representation from different regions of the world.

Mandate: The primary mandate of the UNHRC is to promote and protect human rights globally. It addresses a broad range of human rights issues, including civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. The council examines human rights situations in different countries, conducts thematic studies, and engages in dialogues with governments, civil society organisations, and other stakeholders.

Universal periodic review (UPR): The UPR is a unique mechanism of the UNHRC, which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all UN member states. It allows for a comprehensive assessment of each country's human rights situation, including the implementation of international human rights obligations and commitments. The UPR process encourages dialogue, recommendations, and cooperation to improve human rights practices.

Special procedures: The UNHRC appoints independent experts, known as Special Procedures mandate holders, to examine and report on specific human rights issues or country situations. These experts, also referred to as Special Rapporteurs or Special Representatives, work on a voluntary basis and play a crucial role in monitoring and reporting on human rights violations, providing recommendations, and promoting dialogue.

Resolutions and decision-making: The UNHRC adopts resolutions and decisions to address human rights concerns and promote accountability. The resolutions can be country-specific or thematic, focusing on specific human rights issues such as freedom of expression, women's rights, or the rights of indigenous peoples. The council's decisions and recommendations are not legally binding, but they carry moral and political weight.

Engagement with civil society: The UNHRC encourages the active participation of civil society organisations, human rights defenders, and non-governmental organisations in its work. These entities can submit reports, provide information, and engage in dialogues and consultations with the council and its mechanisms.

The UNHRC plays a crucial role in promoting human rights globally, addressing human rights violations, and providing a platform for dialogue and cooperation. However, like any international body, it faces challenges and criticisms, including concerns over membership composition, politicisation, and the selective focus on certain human rights issues. Nevertheless, the UNHRC remains an important forum for advancing the universal principles of human rights and working towards a more just and equal world.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
INSEAD
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham
ESSEC Business School

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law

    Terminology

    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

    Exam-focused

    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.