United Nations Human Rights Council


The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is a United Nations System inter-governmental body whose 47 member states are responsible for promoting and protecting human rights around the world.

The UNHRC is the successor to the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR, herein CHR), and is a subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly. The council works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and engages the United Nations’ special procedures.

The General Assembly established the UNHRC by adopting a resolution (A/RES/60/251) on 15 March 2006, in order to replace the previous CHR, which had been heavily criticised for allowing countries with poor human rights records to be members.

What it does

As the principal United Nations office mandated to promote and protect human rights for all, OHCHR leads global human rights efforts speaks out objectively in the face of human rights violations worldwide. We provide a forum for identifying, highlighting and developing responses to today’s human rights challenges, and act as the principal focal point of human rights research, education, public information, and advocacy activities in the United Nations system.

Since Governments have the primary responsibility to protect human rights, the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) provides assistance to Governments, such as expertise and technical trainings in the areas of administration of justice, legislative reform, and electoral process, to help implement international human rights standards on the ground. We also assist other entities with responsibility to protect human rights to fulfil their obligations and individuals to realize their rights.


“With our leading human rights role and the important task of mainstreaming human rights into the United Nations system, we work with Governments, civil society, national human rights institutions and other United Nations entities and international organizations, such as the International Labour Organization, the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the International Criminal Court, specialized criminal tribunals, such as the ones for former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda, established by the Security Council, and the World Bank in their efforts to promote and protect human rights.”

The Universal Periodic Review

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC) that emerged from the 2005 UN reform process.[1] Commonly referred to as the UN-UPR, it was established byGeneral Assembly resolution 60/251 of 3 April 2006, the UN-UPR periodically examines the human rightsperformance of all 193 UN Member States. It is intended to complement, not duplicate, the work of other human rights mechanisms, including the UN human rights treaty bodies. This is the first international human rights mechanism to address all countries and all human rights. The Working Group on the UPR, which is composed of the HRC’s 47 Member States and chaired by the HRC President, conducts country reviews.

Special rapporteurs, independent experts, and working groups

The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC) support the work of special prodecures –including special rapporteurs, independent experts, and working groups– appointed by the Council to monitor human rights in different countries or in relation to specific issues. We assist these independent experts as they carry out visits to the field, receive and consider direct complaints from victims of human rights violations, and appeal to governments on behalf of victims. Another example of the standard-setting and monitoring dimensions of our work is the legal research and secretariat support it provides to the core human rights treaty bodies. These committees of independent experts are mandated to monitor State parties’ compliance with their treaty obligations. They meet regularly to examine reports from State parties and issue their recommendations.

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