The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was created on March 15th, 2005 by the UN General Assembly as the principal body in the UN for the protection and promotion of human rights. The creation of this council brought strength and flexibility to the international system, and has served as an effective international body at preserving both traditional and new conceptions of human rights.
The UNHRC was made to replace its predecessor, the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). The Commission was established with the creation of the UN in 1946. While it had achieved many important objectives in the past, international criticism and the appointment of Libya as Chair of the Group created a sentiment that the Commission could no longer adequately fulfill its goal of maintaining human rights. Issues such as politicization and illegitimate membership plagued the commission to the point where it lost both its legitimacy and credibility in the eyes of the international community, who eventually called for its disbandment
Replacing the UNCHR with the Council was believed to be the solution to overcome the flaws of the Commission, aiming to become body that would harbor only pure intentions toward the advancement of human rights.
The UNHRC was constructed as a subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly under Article 2 of the UN Charter, meaning that the General Assembly (GA) is responsible for the election of members to Council and retains authority over its regulation. I will now show a brief video that describes how the Council is run and operated.
Not that you have a basic grasp of the goals and objectives of the Council, I will now discuss the 26th Session of the Human Rights Council that took place between June 10th-27 2014. Some topics of discussion were discussions on the safety of journalists, women’s rights, eliminating child and forced marriage and cooperation and capacity building for people with disabilities. Several countries were addressed as well, as I will explain throughout my presentation. Essentially, the topics were divided between three groups, EconomicSocial Rights, Civil Political Rights, and Rights of People and Specific Groups.
During the first week of the Session, the Council held panel discussion that aimed to address a variety of issues and challenges faced by international journalists. It was stated that ““journalists and other media professionals play an essential role by contributing to transparency and accountability in the conduct of public affairs and other matters of public interest” and beacause of this journalists are frequently subject to violations of their most fundamental human rights, including abduction, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, expulsion, harassment, killing, surveillance, search and seizure. By stressing the importance of the media and journalism to democracy, the council proposed ways to increase there security and will now call on states to ensure accountability by investigating attacks and crimes against journalists.
The council also held a high level panel discussion on combatting female genital mutilation discussing factors underlying this practice and the best approaches to ensure that efforts against it are effective and lasting. The objective of the discussion was to highlight international human rights obligations related to gender stereotypes and to underscore how gender stereotypes/gender stereotyping hinders the achievement of women’s human rights and impedes