UN Human Rights Council

Pakistan and Nepal were recently re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council, China won a seat by the smallest margin while Saudi Arabia was defeated in the elections.

About UNHRC:

  • UNHRC was reconstituted from its predecessor organisation, the UN Commission on Human Rights to help overcome the “credibility deficit” of the previous organisation.
  • Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland

Composition:

  1. The UNHRC has 47 members serving at any time with elections held to fill up seats every year, based on allocations to regions across the world to ensure geographical representation.
  2. Each elected member serves for a term of three years.
  3. Countries are disallowed from occupying a seat for more than two consecutive terms.

Functions:

  • The UNHRC passes non-binding resolutions on human rights issues through a periodic review of all 193 UN member states called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
  • It oversees expert investigation of violations in specific countries (Special Procedures).

UN Human Rights Council

Challenges and Need for reforms:

  1. The human rights record of the member-states such as Saudi Arabia, China and Russia in the council has also not been in line with the aims and mission of the UNHRC, which has led to critics questioning its relevance.
  2. Despite the continued participation of several western countries in the UNHRC, they continue to harbour misgivings on the understanding of Human rights.
  3. Non-compliance has been a serious issue with respect to the UNHRC’s functioning.
  4. Non-participation of powerful nations such as the US
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Current Membership of the Human Rights Council, 1 January – 31 December 2020 by year when term expires

COUNTRYTERM EXPIRES IN
Afghanistan2020
Angola2020
Australia2020
Chile2020
Democratic Republic of the Congo2020
Mexico2020
Nepal2020
Nigeria2020
Pakistan2020
Peru2020
Qatar2020
Senegal2020
Slovakia2020
Spain2020
Ukraine2020
Argentina2021
Austria2021
Bahamas2021
Bahrain2021
Bangladesh2021
Bulgaria2021
Burkina Faso2021
Cameroon2021
Czechia2021
Denmark2021
Eritrea2021
Fiji2021
India2021
Italy2021
Philippines2021
Somalia2021
Togo2021
Uruguay2021
Armenia2022
Brazil2022
Germany2022
Indonesia2022
Japan2022
Libya2022
Marshall Islands2022
Mauritania2022
Namibia2022
Netherlands2022
Poland2022
Republic of Korea2022
Sudan2022
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)2022

Source

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