GS 3: IR

Why in News?

Charter bodies include the UN Human Rights Council and Special Procedures.


  • The Human Rights Council, which replaced the Commission on Human Rights
  • This intergovernmental body, which meets in Geneva 10 weeks a year, is composed of 47 elected United Nations Member States who serve for an initial period of 3 years, and cannot be elected for more than two consecutive terms.
  • The Human Rights Council is a forum empowered to prevent abuses, inequity and discrimination, protect the most vulnerable, and expose perpetrators.
  • The Human Rights Council is a separate entity from OHCHR.

Special Procedures:

  • Special Procedures is the general name given to the mechanisms established by the Commission on Human Rights and assumed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world.
  • Special Procedures are either an individual -a special rapporteur or independent expert-or a working group.
  • They are prominent, independent experts working on a voluntary basis, appointed by the Human Rights Council.
  • Special Procedures’ mandates usually call on mandate-holders to examine, monitor, advise and publicly report on human rights situations in specific countries or territories, known as country mandates, or on human rights issues of particular concern worldwide, known as thematic mandates.
  • All report to the Human Rights Council on their findings and recommendations, and many also report to the General Assembly. They are sometimes the only mechanism that will alert the international community to certain human rights issues, as they can address situations in all parts of the world without the requirement for countries to have had ratified a human rights instrument.

Treaty-based bodies:

  • There are nine core international human rights treaties. Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, all UN Member States have ratified at least one core international human rights treaty, and 80 percent have ratified four or more.
  • There are currently ten human rights treaty bodies, which are committees of independent experts.
  • Nine of these treaty bodies monitor implementation of the core international human rights treaties while the tenth treaty body, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, established under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, monitors places of detention in States parties to the Optional Protocol.
  • The treaty bodies are created in accordance with the provisions of the treaty that they monitor. OHCHR supports the work of treaty bodies and assists them in harmonizing their working methods and reporting requirements through their secretariats.
Share Socially