About the council
- The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system.
- The Council’s mandate is to promote “universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all” and “address situations of violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations, and make recommendations thereon.”
- It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year.
- The Council was created by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006. It replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
- The headquarters of UNHRC is in Geneva, Switzerland.
- The Council is made of 47 Member States, which are elected by the majority of members of the General Assembly of the United Nations through direct and secret ballot.
- The Council’s Membership is based on equitable geographical distribution.
- Members of the Council serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.
Why in News?
- The United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has said Israel’s recent attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip that killed more than 200 Palestinians may constitute “war crimes” if they are shown to be disproportionate.
- Bachelet’s comments came as she opened a special session of the UN Human Rights Council, called at the request of Pakistan and Palestine.
- The UN official said she had seen no evidence that civilian buildings in Gaza hit by Israeli fighter jets were being used for military purposes.