The Human Rights Council and Its Mechanisms


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The existence of such a body is of the greatest importance, not only for the promotion
and the protection of all human rights, but also for the establishment of new norms in this area, involving the participation of all countries in all their diversity, so that human rights may really be universal.

In this regard, civil society organizations have a crucial role to play. In this time of
globalization and anti-terrorist policies, human rights violations have become blatant.
These organizations must, more than ever before, remind governments of their human
rights obligations. They must also assume their proper role within the U.N. and make
their demands heard so that the new norms being established will serve the cause of
equality and justice.

In 2006, the Commission on Human Rights was replaced by the Human Rights Council (the Council). This transformation process has greatly upset the working mechanisms of the U.N.’s principal human rights body. Moreover, the Council has essentially devoted its first two years to setting up rules of procedure and its own mechanisms.

For most human rights militants and governmental delegations, the Council is still
something of an unknown entity that must still prove its worth. This report, the first of a new series of CETIM critical reports, presents this new U.N. body and its mechanisms, sheds a critical light on its workings to date and exploressome of the misgivings concerning its future, while providing in the annexes the reference texts of this document for those wishing to pursue the subject further.


Annex 1 – A Brief Presentation of the Former Commission on Human Rights

Annex 2 – Resolution 60/251 (creating the Human Rights Council)

Annex 3 – Resolution 5/1 (instituting the Council’s mechanisms)

Annex 4 – Resolution 5/2 (regarding Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders)

Annex 5 – Decision A/HRC/6/DEC/102 (defining the general guidelines for the Universal Periodic Review and technical and objective requirements for eligible candidates for mandate holders)

Annex 6 – Resolution A/HRC/6/RES/17 (establishment of voluntary Trust Funds)

Annex 7 – Relevant addresses

More on this issue:  Webpage of the Human Rights Council


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