IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


13th May, 2023 International Relations

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  • The United Nation's top human rights body adopted a resolution that drew attention to mounting civilian deaths and rights abuses in Sudan since a bloody conflict erupted between the African country's two top generals last month.
  • Arab and African nations - including Sudan - featured heavily among the 15 countries that rejected the U.N. move, citing it as a potential barrier to ongoing peace talks.


  • The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is a United Nations body whose mission is to promote and protect human rights around the world.
  • The Council has 47 members elected for staggered three-year terms on a regional group basis.
  • The headquarters of the Council are at the United Nations Office at Geneva in Switzerland.


  • The Council investigates allegations of breaches of human rights in United Nations member states and addresses thematic human rights issues like freedom of association and assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of belief and religion, women's rights, LGBT rights, and the rights of racial and ethnic minorities.


  • The Council was established by the United Nations General Assembly on 15 March 2006 to replace the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
  • The Council works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and engages the United Nations special procedures.
  • The Council has been strongly criticized for including member countries that engage in human rights abuses.


  • The members of the General Assembly elect the members who occupy 47 seats of the Human Rights Council.
  • The term of each seat is three years, and no member may occupy a seat for more than two consecutive terms.
  • The previous CHR had a membership of 53 elected by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) through a majority of those present and voting.
  • Members are eligible for re-election for one additional term, after which they must relinquish their seat.
  • The seats are distributed along the following lines:
    • 13 for the African Group
    • 13 for the Asia-Pacific Group
    • 6 for the Eastern European Group
    • 8 for the Latin American and Caribbean Group
    • 7 for the Western European and Others Group


  • The UNHRC holds regular sessions three times a year, in March, June, and September.
  • The UNHRC can decide at any time to hold a special session to address human rights violations and emergencies, at the request of one-third of the member states.

About Special rapporteur (Independent Expert)

  • They are titles given to independent human rights experts whose expertise is called upon by the United Nations to report or advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective.
  • Their work falls within the scope of "special procedure" mechanisms under the United Nations Human Rights Council.


  • The General Assembly can suspend the rights and privileges of any Council member that it decides has persistently committed gross and systematic violations of human rights during its term of membership.
  • The suspension process requires a two-thirds majority vote by the General Assembly
  • General Assembly suspended Russia from the council due to the gross and systematic violations of human rights committed during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • Russia was the first member of the UN Security Council to be removed from any United Nations body.


Q) Which of the following statements with reference to UNHCR is/are incorrect?

1. Expulsion of Russia from UNHCR made it the first member of the UN Security Council to be removed from any United Nations body.

2. The headquarters of the Council are at the United Nations Office at New York.

3. The UNHRC holds regular sessions four times a year.

a. 1 and 2

b. 2 and 3

c. 1 and 3

d. 1, 2 and 3

Correct Answer: 2