A Guide to Human Rights Council

About

The Human Rights Council is “an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system 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. Additionally, the Council regularly receives reports from “a series of independent expert mechanisms, including special procedures, as well as from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Structure

HRC has 47 member nations that are elected on a term of 3 years and it is headquartered in Geneva Switzerland. As a body overseeing the Human roughs violation, it oversees any human rights violations that might be breached by its member nations on the grounds of its policies. It strives to address important Human rights such as freedom of expression, belief and religion, rights of the sexes, races and ethnic minorities. The general assembly possesses the right to suspend the membership of the member nation and with it its privileges if the country is accused of committing persistent human rights violations amidst when the country is a part of the HRC. The suspension requires a 2/3rd vote of the member nations constituting the General Assembly. The HRC holds 3 sessions a year, in the subsequent months of March, June and September.

The advisory committee is another important branch of the HRC, which serves to conduct studies into human rights violations and to give recommendations to the UNHRC. This Advisory committee has 18 members. 5 from African countries, 3 from Latin America, 5 from Asian states, 3 members from western European and other states and 2 members from Eastern European states.

Impact

The agendas of the HRC include a wide bandwidth of human rights prosecutions and inquiries into human rights violations.

At its Second Special Session, which was held in August 2006, the Council
established a High-Level Commission of Inquiry, which was charged with the task to Look into Israel’s systematically killing of Lebanese civilians during the 2006 Israel- Lebanon conflict. The Council released a statement pressing on Israel to stop its military operations in the Gaza Strip and to allow for food and other commodities across the strip. The Council had adopted the resolution by a vote of 30 to 1, with 15 states abstaining.

Almost half of all of the recommendations made by the Council were “partially or fully implemented just two-and-a-half years after the first round of reviews”. Recommendations made by the Council have led to concrete actions ranging from “combating torture in Jordan to protecting journalists in Cambodia, decriminalizing blasphemy in the United Kingdom and reducing sentences in China.” In another instance, following the end of the Sri Lankan conflict in 2009, the Council spearheaded an independent investigation into abuses in the nation, and the international pressure directly impacted the upcoming elections, helping to usher in a new leader who immediately sponsored numerous reforms throughout the nation.

Tips

The delegate shall adapt one of the 47 member states
• Showcase an active involvement in the issues pressing human rights violations around the world and the atrocities committed by his/her member nation.
• Be thorough with their countries’ mandate concerning the UNHRC
• Research about all the involved member nations in the concerned agenda
• Always maintain diplomatic decorum

Documents admitted as Proof

UN Documents – reports by any UN Body
• Security Council
• General Assembly
• Human Rights Council

Charter-based bodies and UN-affiliated bodies
• International Atomic Energy Agency
• World Bank
• Special Procedures on the HRC
• International Committee of the Red Cross

Treaty-Based Bodies
• Human Rights Committee
• International Criminal Court

State Reports
• State Department of the United States of America
• Ministry of Foreign Affairs
• Ministry of Defense
• Permanent Representatives to the United Nations Report

Multilateral Organizations
• NATO
• ASEAN
• OPEC

State Operated News Agencies
• IRNA (Iran)
• BBC (United Kingdom)
• Xinhua News Agency (China)

— Aditi Agarwal (TYBBA G003)

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