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Human Rights Council - Introduction

The Human Rights Council (HRC) is an intergovernmental body within the UN system composed of forty-seven Member States elected for three-year terms. The HRC works towards promoting and ensuring the respect for human rights worldwide. Its mandate is to:

  • Address situations of human rights violations and human rights emergencies
  • Make recommendations to the UN General Assembly in relation to international human rights law
  • Promote the full implementation of human rights obligations undertaken by States
  • Undertake a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the fulfilment by each of the 193 UN Member States of their human rights obligations.

The HRC holds three regular sessions a year, for a total of at least ten weeks.  Regular sessions take place in March (four weeks), June (three weeks) and September (three weeks); while special sessions may be convened at any time to address urgent human rights violations or emergencies, at the request of at least one third of member states.