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Year-round activities of the Human Rights Council

The Human Rights Council holds regular and special sesions and organizes inter-sessional activities throughout the year.

The meeting schedule of the Council

In addition to the 47 elected Member States of the Council, Observers participate actively in its various activities. Observers include non-Member States, inter-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Regular sessions

Regular sessions take place three times annually in March, June, and September. Member States discuss, take action and pass resolutions related to a standing agenda of 10 items:

  1. Organizational and procedural matters, like adopting the calendar of regular sessions for the cycle;
  2. Annual reports of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the UN Secretary-General;         
  3. Promotion and protection of all human rights: the majority of Council resolutions are handled under this item; 
  4. Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention, like country-specific abuses;
  5. Human rights bodies and mechanisms, such as the Advisory Committee or other subsidiary bodies; 
  6. The Universal Periodic Review, a unique "peer review" of the human rights records of UN Member States by other Member States;
  7. Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories;
  8. Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action;
  9. Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related forms of intolerance; follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action; and
  10. Technical assistance and capacity-building.

Special sessions

The Council also holds special sessions to address emergency situations. In 2022, for example, two special sessions on Iran and Ukraine demonstrated the Council’s effectiveness in responding to urgent crises.

Intersessional activities

Between sessions, the Council organizes thematic forums, panels, and seminars. Some themes addressed in recent meetings are:

  • The impact of corruption on the enjoyment of human rights in the context of COVID-19
  • Human rights and the 2030 Agenda
  • Enhancing the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions in Council meetings

See the full list of upcoming and past inter-sessional activities.

View the current calendar and programme of work.