United Nations Commission on Human Rights

Commission des Nations Unies des droits de l'homme

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1946, within the framework of United Nations (UN), by resolution 5 (I) of United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Based at Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG). Last session organized Mar-Apr 2006; replaced by United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC).


Mandate: formulate an international bill of rights; formulate recommendations for an international declaration or convention on such matters as civil liberties, status of women and freedom of information; protection of minorities; prevention of discrimination on grounds of race, sex, language or religion; any other matter concerning human rights not covered by the above items.

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Monitors compliance by states with international human rights law and investigates alleged violations of human rights, inter alia by dispatching fact-finding missions to countries in all parts of the world, rich and poor, developing and developed countries alike; provides advisory services and technical cooperation to overcome obstacles to securing the enjoyment of human rights by all; promotes protection of the rights of vulnerable groups in society, including minorities and indigenous people and of children and women, including eradication of violence against women and attainment of equal rights for women. As of 18 Nov 2004:

/Special Procedures/

1. 'Expert Working Groups' (3):

 • -People of African Descent - established 25 Apr 2002 by Commission resolution 2002/68; latest resolution 2003/30 (3 years);

 • -Arbitrary Detention - established 5 Mar 1991 by Commission resolution 1991/42; latest resolution 2003/31;

 • -Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances - established 29 Feb 1980; Commission resolution 20 (XXXV); latest resolution 2004/40.

2. 'Special Rapporteurs' (21):

 • -Occupied Palestinian Territories;

 • -Myanmar;

 • -Belarus;

 • -Democratic People's Republic of Korea;

 • -Mercenaries;

 • -Racism;

 • -Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health;

 • -Right to Education;

 • -Right to Food;

 • -Adequate Housing;

 • -Toxic Waste;

 • -Extrajudicial Summary of Arbitrary Executions;

 • -Independence of Judges and Lawyers;

 • -Freedom of Opinion and Expression;

 • -Freedom of Religion or Belief;

 • -Torture;

 • -Violence Against Women;

 • -Trafficking in Persons;

 • -Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography;

 • -Migrants;

 • -Indigenous People.

3. 'Special Representatives of the Secretary General' (3):

 • -Cambodia;

 • -IDPs;

 • -Human Rights Defenders.

4. 'Personal Representative of the High Commissioner':

 • -Cuba.

5. 'Independent Experts' (13):

 • -Sudan;

 • -Uzbekistan;

 • -Haiti;

 • -Somalia;

 • -Liberia;

 • -Afghanistan;

 • -Democratic Rep of Congo;

 • -Chad;

 • -Burundi;

 • -Human Rights and Extreme Poverty;

 • -Structural Adjustment Policies;

 • -Human Rights and Countering Terrorism;

 • -Impunity.

/Open-Ended Working Groups/ (5):

 • -Draft Legally Binding Normative Instruments for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance - established by Commission resolution 2001/46; latest resolution 2004/40;

 • -Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action - established 25 Apr 2002 by Commission resolution 2002/68; latest resolution 2003/30;

 • -Right to Development - established 22 Apr 1998 by Commission resolution 1998/72; latest resolution 2004/7;

 • -Draft Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) - established by Commission resolution 2002/24; latest resolution 2004/29;

 • -United Nations Working Group Established in Accordance with Commission on Human Rights Resolution 1995/32 - established 3 Mar 1995 by Commission resolution 2002/64; latest resolution 1995/32.

/Special Complaints Procedure/ - 1. Initial screening of complaints by the Secretariat and by the Chairperson of the Working Group on Communications. 2. Complaints passed on to Working Group on Situations (which appear to reveal a consistent pattern of gross violations of human rights) - established 25 May 1990 by ECOSOC resolutions 1503 (XLVIII), 1990/41 and 2000/3. 3. Complaints considered by Commission in closed session (2 meetings, first to hear Government, second to make decision).

Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, a subsidiary body established in 1946 under resolution 9 (II) of ECOSOC, undertakes studies in the light of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and makes recommendations to the Commission. It includes:

 • Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery;

 • 'Working Group on Communications (1503 Procedure)';

 • Working Group on Minorities;

 • Working Group on Indigenous Populations;

 • Sessional Working Group on the Administration of Justice;

 • Sessional Working Group on the Working Methods and Activities of Transnational Corporations.

The Commission is also instrumental in: United Nations Voluntary Fund for the International Decade of the World Indigenous People; United Nations Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights; United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture; World Public Information Campaign on Human Rights.


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Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish.

Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 7 inter-governmental organizations.
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Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 38 non-governmental organizations.
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Members in 53 countries
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Type I Classification

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Type II Classification

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Subjects *

  • International Relations
    • United Nations
  • Peace
    • Rights

UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions



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* Subject classification is derived from the organization names and aims.
** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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