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The Council establishes forums as platforms for dialogue and cooperation. All meet and report to the Council on a yearly basis except for the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, which meets every two years.

The Forum on Minority Issues provides a platform to discuss and address the challenges faced by national or ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities worldwide. It has focused on the human rights of minorities in the context of issues such as hate speech and social media, education and learning, statelessness and more.

The Social Forum provides a unique space for open and interactive dialogue between civil society, representatives of Member States, and intergovernmental organizations, on a theme chosen by the Council each year.

The United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights is the world's largest annual gathering on business and human rights, with more than 2,000 participants from government, business, community groups and civil society, law firms, investor organizations, UN bodies, national human rights institutions, trade unions, academia and the media.

Over three days, participants take part in 60+ panel discussions on topics that relate to the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the United Nations "Protect, Respect and Remedy" Framework), as well as current business-related human rights issues. The Forum is the foremost event to network, share experiences and learn about the latest initiatives to promote corporate respect for human rights.

The Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law is an important hub for exchange, dialogue, mutual understanding and cooperation on the interrelationship between human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Its purpose is to provide a platform for promoting dialogue and cooperation on issues pertaining to the relationship between these areas, and to identify and analyze best practices, challenges and opportunities for States in their efforts to secure respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

On 2 August 2021, the UN General Assembly adopted its resolution 75/314, in which it formally operationalized the Permanent Forum of People of African Descent as "a consultative mechanism for people of African descent and other relevant stakeholders as a platform for improving the safety and quality of life and livelihoods of people of African descent, as well as an advisory body to the Human Rights Council, in line with the programme of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent and in close coordination with existing mechanisms".

Among other mandated tasks, it will seek to advance the full political, economic and social inclusion of people of African descent in the societies in which they live – as equal citizens without discrimination, and with equal enjoyment of human rights – and contribute to the elaboration of a UN declaration on the rights of persons of African descent. The Forum will provide expert advice and recommendations to the Human Rights Council, the Assembly’s main committees, and the various UN entities working on issues related to racial discrimination.