UN Human Rights Council
|UN Human Rights Council
United Nations Human Rights Council
Human Rights Council logo
|Organization type||Subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly|
since Jan. 1, 2020
|Founded||March 15, 2006
(replaced the UN Human Rights Commission )
|Headquarters||Geneva , Switzerland|
|Upper organization||United Nations|
|Subsidiary organizations||Advisory Committee of the HRC|
The UN Human Rights Council ( English United Nations Human Rights Council , in short UNHRC ) replaced as part of the of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan -driven reform of the United Nations in June 2006, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights from. Like the Commission on Human Rights, the Council can decide by an absolute majority to send observers to monitor the human rights situation in a Member State. However, it has only 47 members since some institutional changes were made. The Human Rights Council is a subsidiary body of the General Assembly , as indicated by the General Assembly resolution that established the Council. It should not be confused with the UN Human Rights Committee .
It is controversial because of its composition and voting behavior, which is sometimes viewed as partisan.
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley announced the withdrawal of the USA from the UN Human Rights Council on June 19, 2018 .
In its 72nd plenary session on March 15, 2006, the UN General Assembly passed resolution 60/251 with 170 votes in favor, four votes against and three abstentions for the establishment of the Human Rights Council. Israel , the Marshall Islands , Palau and the United States of America voted against the introduction of the council because the negotiated criteria for the admission of states to the council were insufficient. Iran , Venezuela and Belarus abstained . The new UN body met for the first time in Geneva with its constituent meeting on June 19, 2006.
Comments on establishment
The then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights , Louise Arbor , classified the establishment of the Human Rights Council as a decision of historic importance, the real impact of which on people's lives has yet to be investigated. The US Ambassador to the United Nations, John R. Bolton , rejected the project. According to the US, it is not going far enough. He said, however, that his country will help to make the new body "as strong and effective as possible". The Cuban ambassador to the UN Rodrigo Malmierca put the question before the vote whether the Human Rights Council and the United States for its human rights violations in Guantanamo in Cuba , in Abu Ghraib in Iraq and at secret CIA -Gefangenenlagern in Europe will hold accountable. The former German human rights commissioner Günter Nooke believes that the best had to be made of it, even though "this sparrow in the hand is perhaps half dead because the percentage of human rights-friendly states has continued to decrease". Shortly before the end of the Geneva conference, the Canadian government's demand on Germany to arrest the Iranian attorney general Said Mortasawi at Frankfurt airport on his return flight from Geneva because he was directly involved in the torture and murder of the Iranian-born Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi caused a stir is accused. Kazemi died in Tehran's Evin prison during interrogation with Mortasawi, among others. Said Mortasawi was the Iranian representative at the UN Human Rights Council, which met in Geneva. The USA was elected to the body for the first time under President Barack Obama .
Exit of the USA
In June 2018, the United States Ambassador to the United States, Nikki Haley, announced that they would withdraw from the Human Rights Council. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo concretized the accusation that the world's worst human rights violators were sitting on the council as member states. The US had long been calling for a reform of the council, which they accuse of being anti-Israeli. A year ago, Haley demanded that the council reduce its "focus on Israel".
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres regretted the US withdrawal. The High Commissioner for Human Rights , Said Raad al-Hussein , called the decision "disappointing, but not really surprising". The EU foreign affairs representative Federica Mogherini announced that the exit "endangers the role of the US as an advocate and supporter of democracy in the world".
The former UN Human Rights Commission was criticized from some quarters for not being able to effectively stand up for the protection of human rights, since it was possible for states accused of human rights violations to protect each other in the commission.
The new council with the same seat in the Swiss Geneva with 47 members, unlike before with 53, slightly smaller. The members are determined by secret ballot by the UN General Assembly with an absolute majority. The council should meet more frequently than the previous UN Human Rights Commission, namely at least three meetings per year with a total duration of at least ten weeks. According to the previous draft, stricter admission conditions apply, and members of this council can also be excluded if they blatantly violate human rights. The 47 seats in the new council will be allocated on the basis of regional groups . 13 seats go to Africa , 13 to Asia , and six to Eastern Europe . The states of Latin America and the Caribbean will have eight seats, and Western Europe and the other states will have seven seats .
The Human Rights Council is a subsidiary body of the General Assembly. He is thus directly accountable to all member states of the United Nations.
Member States are on a three-year elected ; a state may have a maximum of two consecutive terms of office. The election of the first members took place on May 9, 2006 . The seven seats of the western states received Germany (154 votes), France (150 votes), the United Kingdom (148 votes), Switzerland, the Netherlands, Finland and Canada. China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia were also elected to the list of 47 countries. Ghana received the most votes of all states with 183 votes. The United States did not stand for election to the UN Human Rights Council.
Compared to the previous commission, which was criticized for the election of Sudan as its chair because of the Darfur conflict, the "highest standards" of human rights are required of the members. They must also be checked periodically. It is also provided that states make voluntary promises and pledges when they apply for the Human Rights Council.
A council member can be voted out by a two-thirds majority in the assembly . The commission was an independent body; the council becomes a subsidiary of the assembly. Council membership is limited to two consecutive terms of office. A renewed candidacy is possible after a break.
A Human Rights Council Advisory Committee , composed of independent experts, acts as a sub-organ of the Human Rights Council . A major innovation compared to the old Human Rights Commission is the " general periodic review " ( Universal Periodic Review ). The aim is to regularly examine the human rights record of all states in more detail. The special procedures created under the Human Rights Commission were adopted by the Human Rights Council. This means that it is still possible to use independent experts ( special rapporteurs ) to review the global human rights situation.
The following table shows which states were represented on the Human Rights Council and when. The first three lines - highlighted in color - indicate which states are currently represented in the UN Human Council:
|No||Surname||country||Term of office|
|14th||Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger||Austria||since 01/01/2020|
|13.||Coly Seck||Senegal||01.01.2019 - 31.12.2019|
|12.||Vojislav Šuc||Slovenia||01/01/2018 - 12/31/2018|
|11.||Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli||El Salvador||01/01/2017 - 31/12/2017|
|10.||Kyonglim Choi||South Korea||01/01/2016 - 12/31/2016|
|9.||Joachim Rücker||Germany||01/01/2015 - 12/31/2015|
|8th.||Baudelaire Ndong Ella||Gabon||06/16/2014 - 12/31/2014|
|7th||Remigiusz Henczel||Poland||01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013|
|6th||Laura Dupuy Lasserre||Uruguay||June 19, 2011 - December 9, 2012|
|5.||Sihasak Phuangketkeow||Thailand||06/19/2010 - 06/18/2011|
|4th||Alex Van Meeuwen||Belgium||06/19/2009 - 06/18/2010|
|3.||Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi||Nigeria||06/19/2008 - 06/18/2009|
|2.||Doru Romulus Costea||Romania||06/19/2007 - 06/18/2008|
|1.||Luis Alfonso de Alba||Mexico||06/19/2006 - 06/18/2007|
tasks and goals
According to its founding resolution, the Human Rights Council is to serve as the main forum of the United Nations for dialogue and cooperation in the field of human rights. Its main focus is on helping Member States meet their human rights obligations through dialogue, technical assistance and capacity building. It also makes recommendations to the General Assembly on the further development of international law in the field of human rights. It should be guided by the principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity.
In resolution 60/251, the Human Rights Council defined the following main tasks and objectives:
- Protecting victims of human rights abuses
- Promotion of the protection and implementation of human rights
- Development of new concepts and policies
- Development of new human rights standards, both at international and national level
- Preventing and preventing human rights violations
- Coordination of UN human rights work
- Follow-up and implementation
These tools are available to him for this:
- Universal periodic review :
- This instrument, which did not yet exist in the Human Rights Commission, is the universal periodic review of all member states of the UN. The purpose of the procedure is to ensure that it is regularly checked whether a state is fulfilling its human rights obligations. This is not just about control, but also about providing help with implementation problems. In such cases the High Commissioner for Human Rights and other UN agencies can offer their support.
- The procedure is the main innovation of the Human Rights Council. However, it does not serve as a replacement for the existing state reporting procedures led by expert bodies in connection with the various human rights treaties, but rather represents a system of reviewing states by states (so-called “ peer review ”). The process is based on international cooperation and mutual dialogue.
- Special process :
- The special procedures developed by the Human Rights Commission deal with the human rights situation in a certain state or with a certain, internationally virulent human rights issue. The mandates are therefore either country-specific or thematic. The mandate holders - that can be individuals ( special rapporteurs ) or working groups - consist of independent experts who have the necessary specialist knowledge and at the same time are not allowed to pursue their own interests. All elected officials must inform the Human Rights Council annually about their work. At the request of the General Assembly, you must submit your investigation results to it.
- Advisory Committee :
- The Advisory Committee is a discussion and specialist body and was set up by the Council as its sub-body. It replaces the former influential "Sub-Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights".
- Complaint procedure :
- The complaints procedure is the revised version of the "1503 Complaints Procedure" existing in the Human Rights Commission. It is used to identify situations of serious and reliably confirmed human rights violations . However, the complaint procedure should not be confused with the individual complaint procedure, as they are included in some human rights agreements as optional protocols. Individuals can also submit a complaint to the Human Rights Council, but they are not involved in the proceedings as complainants.
- The aim of the complaints process is to identify and contain human rights violations when there are signs of regular and systematic patterns of human rights violations in a state.
|UN Human Rights Council Convictions, by Country, 2006-2015|
|Source: UN Watch|
- Even after the reform of the Council, states that violate human rights such as China, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and Nigeria gained a vote in the Human Rights Council, since every UN member country can apply for the Council without selection criteria and the members by a simple majority the UN General Assembly in which democracies with separation of powers are in a minority. This is in contrast to the Council's claim that its members must meet the highest human rights standards. Western values - from freedom of the press to the right to physical integrity - are being aggressively challenged, according to Western councilors. For example, the former UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak said in 2010 that those "states that violate human rights the most have [...] a majority" in the Human Rights Council.
- Critics also point out that many of the Council's decisions are politically motivated and are not made from a human rights perspective. In this way, the human rights violating states would protect each other and their allies. The strong-voting organization of Islamic states in particular regularly throws down allegations of human rights violations in Uzbekistan , Iran or by Hamas in the Gaza Strip . In the Darfur conflict , too , at the instigation of the African and Asian states, which form a majority in the Human Rights Council, a sharp condemnation of the serious human rights violations was repeatedly rejected.
- When British human rights activist David Littman was giving a critical presentation to the UNHRC on June 16, 2008 on the human rights situation and violence against women in Islamic countries (genital mutilation, stoning and forced marriages), he was interrupted under pressure from Pakistani and Egyptian delegates. The Romanian Council President then ended the discussion and called on Littmann to refrain from any “assessment or evaluation of a certain religion”.
- In Sri Lanka , after the end of the civil war against the Tamil Tigers in 2009, the army's actions regarding human rights violations were prevented from being investigated. Both sides are accused of serious disregard for human rights (use of civilians as human shields, military attack on hospitals, arbitrary removal of suspects of terrorism). A resolution brought in by Sri Lanka itself, which is supposed to only allow access to the combat areas for aid organizations "when it is appropriate" (which prevents an investigation), was against the votes (including by Cuba, China, Egypt) among others accepted by Germany (and eleven other states).
- In the opinion of the critics, delegates from those states that belong to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and that hold a third of the seats in the Council regularly prevent discussions about human rights violations in their states. They claim that the Sharia legal system is part of their religion and is therefore free of any criticism. In addition, these states try to label criticism of religion as racism , which is punishable in western industrialized countries. On March 26, 2009, the Human Rights Council passed a resolution to end all criticism of religion, whereby only Islam is mentioned by name. With 23 to 11 votes, the committee passed a declaration calling on the UN member states to modify their national legislation in order to protect against defamation or offense (defamation of religion) of a religion. Over 200 civil and human rights organizations from 46 countries, including Muslim ones, rejected the non-binding resolution in a joint declaration. The spokesman for one of the organizers of the declaration described the resolution as "unnecessary and dangerous".
- In contrast, in 2007 alone, at the instigation of the Islamic members, the Council dealt with the Middle East conflict 120 times and passed numerous resolutions against Israel, while requests by Western states to include and condemn possible Palestinian human rights violations were rejected. In June 2015, the non-governmental organization UN Watch compiled the addressees of all country-specific condemnations of the Human Rights Council and once again criticized the focus on Israel in the absence of such resolutions against UN member states such as the People's Republic of China, Afghanistan, Iraq, the USA or Russia. The USA announced in June 2008 that it would only exercise its observer status in particularly urgent cases. The then Foreign Minister Condoleezza Rice said it would be of little use to participate in a body that only attacks Israel. Under the administration of President Obama , the United States ran for election on May 12, 2009 and was elected to the council. In June 2018, the United States withdrew from the council because there were too many "despots" members. The US ambassador to the UN, Haley, once again accused the Council of taking an anti-Israeli stance.
- In a vote by the General Assembly on May 13, 2010, Angola , Ecuador , Guatemala , Qatar , Libya , Malaysia , the Maldives , Mauritania , Moldova , Poland , Spain , Switzerland , Thailand and Uganda were 14 other countries for a three-year term in office Human Rights Council elected. In particular, the election of Libya as one of the “longest-lived and most brutal tyrannies” met with violent protests from human rights groups. On March 1, 2011, the UN General Assembly decided by consensus to exclude Libya from the UN Human Rights Council.
- In the run-up to the UN General Assembly in 2016, 80 human rights and aid organizations called for Russia to be prevented from being re-elected because of its role in the Syrian civil war . Surprisingly, Russia actually failed in the election against Hungary and Croatia, while Saudi Arabia was re-elected despite serious human rights violations and the war in Yemen.
- In 2018, criticism from human rights groups provoked the election of the Senegalese UN ambassador Coly Seck as chairman of the Human Rights Council from 2019. The problematic human rights situation in Senegal (unfair legal proceedings, restrictions on freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, the rights of sexual minorities, inhumane conditions of detention, lack of protection against sexual abuse for children) and Senegal's participation in the Yemen war on the Saudi side Arabia pointed out with its devastating effects on civilians .
- Daniela Karrenstein: The Human Rights Council of the United Nations. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2011, ISBN 978-3-16-150909-4 .
- Gunnar Theissen: More than just a name change. The new United Nations Human Rights Council. In: United Nations. 54, 2006, pp. 138-146.
- Norman Weiß: The newly created Human Rights Council of the United Nations (PDF). In: MenschenRechtsMagazin. 2006, pp. 80-86.
- Eckart Klein , Marten Breuer : (Un) completed reform steps in the United Nations: the examples of the Security Council and the Human Rights Council. In: Hans J. Münk (Ed.): The United Nations - six decades after its foundation. Balance sheet and reform prospects. 2008, pp. 75-116.
- Maximilian Mertel: The “Special Procedures” of the UN Human Rights Council. VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, 2010, ISBN 978-3-639-25525-6 , pp. 46 and 54.
- GA Resolution 60/251 (PDF; 879 kB), Resolution of the UN General Assembly on the establishment of the Human Rights Council of March 15, 2006 (German)
- GA Resolution 60/251 ( Memento of August 7, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (original English version)
- HRC Resolution 5/1, Institution-building , June 18, 2007.
- Published documents of the UNHRC
- Official website of the UNHRC (English, French, Spanish, and Russian)
- The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights on the UN Human Rights Council - YouTube video
- Overview and further information on the UN Human Rights Council from Humanrights.ch
- Result of the election on 9 May 2006 (English)
- General Assembly-elects 47 Members of new Human Rights Council; Marks 'New Beginning' for Human Rights Promotion, Protection (GA / 10459), 9 May 2006 (English)
- ^ HRC Welcome to the Human Rights Council . OHCHR.
- ↑ 60/251, No. 1 (PDF; 879 kB).
- ↑ Mike Pompeo (US Secretary of State), Nikki Haley ( US Ambassador to the United Nations ) / www.state.gov: Remarks on the UN Human Rights Council .
- ↑ USA call the UN Human Rights Council a “cesspool” - and step out , Spiegel Online from June 19, 2018.
- ↑ USA withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council , Zeit Online from June 19, 2018.
- ↑ Resolutions without referral to a main committee: Resolution 60/251. (PDF) http://www.un.org/ , March 15, 2006, accessed May 7, 2017 .
- ^ Human Rights Commission concludes its work, hands over to new Council , UN News, March 27, 2006.
- ↑ Internet newspaper 123recht.net: Germany asked to arrest Iran's attorney general - Canada files a motion for the death of a journalist ( memento of October 12, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), June 23, 2006.
- ↑ Resignation from the UN Human Rights Council: USA break with another alliance , tagesschau.de, June 20, 2018.
- ↑ United Nations: USA resign from UN Human Rights Council . Time online.
↑ Tilman Dralle: The reformability of the United Nations using the example of the Security Council and the Human Rights Commission ( Memento of the original from January 19, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 254 kB) August 2010, p. 7 f. Germany's promise in the 2006 election (PDF; 340 kB)
- ↑ Membership of the Human Rights Council, January 1 - December 31, 2018 . OHCHR.
- ↑ Foreign Minister Schallenberg congratulates Ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger on her election as President of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on December 6, 2019, accessed on December 6, 2019.
- ^ President of the 13th Cycle. Retrieved February 22, 2019 .
- ↑ Human Rights Council-elects new President and Vice-Presidents for 2017 - Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli of El Salvador Appointed as President-elect. Retrieved May 6, 2017 .
- ^ OHCHR - HRC President of the 12th Cycle .
- ↑ Joachim Rücker, President of the Human Rights Council, Ninth Cycle (2015). Retrieved May 22, 2015.
- ↑ UN Human Rights Council: new President will help promote human rights equitably . December 10, 2012.
- ^ A b Human Rights Council - Membership of the Human Rights Council . OHCHR. Archived from the original on February 18, 2011. Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
- ^ Human Rights Council - Tasks and Instruments Ed .: Humanrights.ch , December 20, 2011.
- ^ A b UN Watch : [Report: In 9 Years Existence, UNHRC Condemned Israel More Times Than Rest of World Combined], UN Watch Briefing, Issue 539, June 25, 2015.
- ↑ a b Democrats in the minority . In: Der Spiegel . No. 43 , 2006, p. 80 ( online ).
- ↑ Manfred Nowak in an interview - “UN Human Rights Protection in Great Crisis” , Der Standard of October 22, 2010.
- ↑ UN Special Rapporteur criticizes the Human Rights Council , swissinfo.ch of March 10, 2010.
- ↑ UN Human Rights Council: Two to One for the South - dw-world.de of June 17, 2008
- ↑ Sudan again escapes conviction in the UN Human Rights Council. In: Deutsche Welle. December 13, 2006, accessed May 2, 2011 .
- ↑ Freedom of religion over human rights? , in: Spiegel Online, July 4, 2008.
- ↑ Bat Yeʾor: Europe and the Coming Caliphate. Islam and the radicalization of democracy. Duncker & Humblot. Berlin 2013. pp. 95f.
- ↑ The anti-Israel Besessnheit of the UN Human Rights Council , in: Israel Network .com , March 26, 2018 accessed December 23, 2018th
- ↑ tagesschau.de ( Memento from May 30, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
- ↑ a b Udo Wolter: The dignity of Islam is inviolable. In: Jungle World. August 7, 2008, p. 3 , accessed March 31, 2009 .
- ↑ UNO drops concept of defamation of religions .
- ^ NGOs worldwide against resolution of March 26, 2009 . International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). Archived from the original on April 9, 2010. Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved September 7, 2010.
↑ The UN Human Rights Council should be abolished . In: Die Welt
tagesschau.de ( Memento from September 25, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
- ^ Election result of the UN General Assembly (English).
- ↑ Resignation from the UN Human Rights Council: USA break with another alliance , tagesschau.de, June 20, 2018.
- ↑ United Nations: USA resign from UN Human Rights Council . Time online.
- ^ Louis Charbonneau: Libya, Thailand elected to UN Human Rights Council. May 13, 2010, accessed May 2, 2011 .
- ↑ tagesschau.de ( Memento from May 16, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
- ↑ General Assembly Suspends Libya from Human Rights Council - Meetings Coverage and Press Releases .
- ↑ Russia flies out of the UN Human Rights Council , Spiegel Online, October 28, 2016.
- ↑ Russia misses re-election in the UN Human Rights Council , Watson (sda), October 28, 2016.
- ↑ https://www.amnesty.de/jahresbericht/2018/senegal
- ↑ https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/01/15/submission-human-rights-watch-committee-economic-social-and-cultural-rights-senegal