United Nations Human Rights Council

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC or HRC) is a body of the United Nations dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights and freedoms around the world. 

The Council is composed of 47 member states elected by the UN General Assembly based on equitable geographical distribution and meets three times a year at its office in Geneva, Switzerland. UNHRC was founded in 2006 and succeeded the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights, which was considered inefficient and too politicized. 

The work of the Human Rights Council is based on the principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity, and non-selectivity, constructive international dialogue and international cooperation. This means, in brief, that it applies the same high standard of protection of human rights to every state without differentiation on the political basis. 

The main tasks of the Human Rights Council are to promote the establishment, acceptance, implementation and protection of human rights in the world, as well as to protect victims of human rights violations. It can adopt resolutions or individual members can make statements pushing for necessary changes. The Council also serves as a platform for defenders of human rights to bring issues to the attention of NGOs, governments, media, and the public in general. Through the Universal Periodic Review, the situation related to human rights in each member state is inspected every four years, and, where necessary, recommendations are made. In this way, the HRC attempts to resolve human rights issues through dialogue and offering practical solutions. The mandate allowing the Human Rights Council to generate intense scrutiny makes it a crucial tool to achieve the objectives of the human rights defenders. The HRC also allows individual states to show the rest of the world that they are committed to protecting human rights or are making effort to improve the shortcomings. In addition, the Council can examine situations in particular states (called country mandate) or specific problems (thematic mandate). This means that not only the general, global issues of human rights are concerned, but also the scrutiny is applied to individual cases or specific occurrences.

HRC is the place where countries discuss the most pressing human rights problems, try to work together to solve them, and also bring new, unknown issues to the discussion. A wide range of issues are discussed and dealt with in the Council, some of them being: respect for human rights in crisis areas, terrorism, discrimination, the rights of indigenous peoples, the right to food, migration, technical cooperation, torture, issues concerning minorities. 

As an extension of the pressing human rights issues that need to be dealt with, during this year's OLMUN edition, the UNHRC is going to deal with the topic of human trafficking and modern forms of slavery. 

More information can be found on: https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/hrc/home 

Topic 2023: Fighting against Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking as a Violation of Human Rights

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