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Welcome to the Human Rights Council

About the Human Rights Council (easy to read version*)

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. It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year. It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.

The Council is made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly. The Human Rights Council replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.


The Council was created by the United Nations General Assembly on 15 March 2006 by resolution 60/251. Its first session took place from 19 to 30 June 2006. One year later, the Council adopted its "Institution-building package" to guide its work and set up its procedures and mechanisms.

Among them were the Universal Periodic Review mechanism which serves to assess the human rights situations in all United Nations Member States, the Advisory Committee which serves as the Council’s “think tank” providing it with expertise and advice on thematic human rights issues and the Complaint Procedure which allows individuals and organizations to bring human rights violations to the attention of the Council.

The Human Rights Council also works with the UN Special Procedures established by the former Commission on Human Rights and now assumed by the Council. These are made up of special rapporteurs, special representatives, independent experts and working groups that monitor, examine, advise and publicly report on thematic issues or human rights situations in specific countries.

Review of the Council

When creating the Human Rights Council in March 2006 the United Nations General Assembly decided that the Council’s work and functioning should be reviewed five years after it had come into existence at the level of the General Assembly. More information about the review and its 2011 outcome are available here.

Task Force on Secretariat services, accessibility and use of information technology

The Task Force on Secretariat services, accessibility and use of information technology was established in July 2011. It is mandated to study issues related to the improvement of the secretariat services to the Council and its mechanisms, the accessibility to the Council’s work for persons with disabilities and the feasibility of the use of information technology. More info here.

Accessibility to HRC Meetings

Accessibility guide to the Human Rights Council for persons with disabilities (accessible PDF)
(Copies in print and braille are available by contacting the accessibility focal point).


In an effort to render the Human Rights Council more accessible to persons with disabilities and to allow them to participate in the work of the Council on an equal basis with others, the following discussions/debates will be made accessible to persons with disabilities. During the discussion/debate, international sign interpretation and real time captioning will be provided and webcasted. Physical accessibility will be promoted by making room facilities wheelchair friendly. Braille printing will be available on demand.

- Tuesday 10 March 2015, 1500-1800 Annual interactive debate on the rights of persons with disabilities
- Wednesday 11 March 2015, 0900-1500 Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities
- Thursday 19 March 2015, 1200-1500, Panel discussion on the issue of national policies and human rights

Panels of the Council made accessible to people with disabilities

Please spend 10 minutes to complete the feedback form below and email it to: TFaccessibility@ohchr.org

Map of the UNOG Palais des Nations:

An Accessibility Focal Point of the Human Rights Council Secretariat is available to answer any queries.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Human Rights Council Branch
Fax: +41 22 917 9011 

General information about accessibility in Geneva

* These non-official easy to read versions are provided by other sources or external providers and are for informational purposes only; they do not constitute endorsement of, or an approval by, the United Nations of any of the text or products, services, or opinions of the organization or individual. The United Nations bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of their statements and opinions.


Rules of Procedure
Background documents

Organigramme of the Human Rights Council

General Assembly Resolution 60/251 establishing the Human Rights Council (2006)

HRC Resolution 5/1: Human Rights Council “Institution-building package” (2007)

HRC Resolution 16/21: Review of the work and functioning of the Human Rights Council (2011)

GA Resolution 65/281: Review of the Human Rights Council (2011)

Report of the Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change (2004)

Report of the Secretary-General “In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all” (2005)

Addendum to the Secretary-General's Report: Explanatory Note on the Human Rights Council (2005)

2005 World Summit Outcome Document (2005)

Summary of Commission on Human Rights informal consultations (2005)

Compilation of Commission on Human Rights Practices (2005)


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