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Human Rights Council

last updated Feb 26, 2009

The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) is an inter-governmental body within the UN system, made up of 47 States, responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe. The Council was created by the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 and is the successor to the UN Commission on Human Rights. Its main purpose is to address situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.

One of the main elements of the Council’s work is the new Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism, a review process set up to periodically assess the human rights situation in all 192 UN Member States. Other features of the Council include a new Advisory Committee which serves as the Council’s ‘think tank’ providing it with expertise and advice on thematic human rights issues relevant to all parts of the world. Furthermore, the Council's Complaints Procedure mechanism, the successor to the former Commission's 1503 procedure, was established to address "consistent patterns of gross and reliably attested violations of all human rights and all fundamental freedoms occurring in any part of the world and under any circumstances".