The human Rights council is an inter-governmental body that is within the United Nations structure. It has a membership of 47 states, whose members states are elected for three-year terms. The body is hugely responsible for protecting and preserving human rights all over the world. Among the rights protected by UNHRC are freedom of association, freedom of religion and belief, LGBT rights and women rights.
Its organizational structure is divided into five parts; sessions, members, presidents, subsidiary bodies and special procedures.
The body holds regular sessions three times each year. The months for the sessions are March, June and September. Special sessions are decided to address human rights violations and emergencies. Since the start of the union, 20 sessions have been convened by one third of the member states.
Members of the body are elected for three-year terms. Council members are elected by the 192 member states of the UN General Assembly. Election to the council has to be by an absolute majority of votes. The council seats aim to achieve equitable distribution according to the Geographical distribution worldwide. The African and Asian group receives 13 slots of representation; there are 8 slots from Latin America and the Caribbean, 6 from Eastern European Group and 7 from the Western European and other States group.
The first election of members was held on May 9, 2006.
The current president of the council is Mr Choi Kyong-lim from the Republic of Korea. His reign started on 1 January 2016. Previous presidents and their corresponding years include:
Name Country Years
Mr Joachim Rucker Germany 1 January 2015- 31 December 2015
Mr Baudelaire Ndong Ella Gabon 1 January 2014-31 December 2014
Mr Remigiusz Hensczel Poland 1 January 2013- 31 December 2013
Ms Laura Dupuy Lasserre Uruguay 19 June 2011-31 December 2012
Mr Sihasak Phuangketkeow Thailand 19 June 2010-18 June 2011
Mr Alex Van Meeuwen Belgium 19 June 2009-18 June 2010
Mr Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi Nigeria 19 June 2008-18 June 2009
Mr Doru Romulus Costea Romania 19 June 2007-18 June 2008
Mr Luis Alfonso de Alba Mexico 19 June 2006-18 June 2007
When voting for the members of the Council, the candidate's contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights is considered. Candidates are also expected to submit voluntary pledges and commitments towards the same cause. The General Assembly has the right to suspend the rights of any member of the Council in case of gross misconduct and violation of the human rights. If the member fails to uphold the dignity that comes with human rights, their privileges are suspended. The suspension requires two-thirds majority vote.
This mainly refers to the mechanisms established by the Human Rights Council to gather general observations on human rights. The main thematic concerns include human rights abuse worldwide. Special procedures experts usually consist of five members from each UN region.
Position of the Council in Achieving Its Goals
In as much as the council has been faced by incredibly huge drawbacks in the areas of thematic concern, it has thrived forward to ensure that human rights are upheld. Together with the help of human rights activities and bodies e.g. the American Learned friends, they have beaten all odds to do away with human rights abuse worldwide. Recently, it voted Israel as the only country that treats women the worst.
Phillips, W. R. (1962). United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Mont. L. Rev., 24, 31.
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