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UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is an inter-governmental body for human rights enforcement and protection based in Geneva. The most important UN body for the promotion, strengthening, and protection of human rights around the world was established in 2006 with the General Assembly Resolution 60/251, replacing the Commission on Human Rights. It is composed of 47 member states which are elected for a period of three years with the option of a maximum of two consecutive mandates. Three regular HRC sessions take place every year (March, June, September), but the HRC also holds special sessions that last from one to three days. Special sessions are convened when severe human rights violations occur anywhere in the world and HRC member states want to address them as soon as possible. At the HRC sessions, the human rights situation is presented by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, special procedures mandate holders, and special inquiry commissions, but statements are also given by other representatives from the UN, states, regional, inter-governmental, and non-governmental organisations, as well as other stakeholders.

 

In addition to regular and extraordinary sessions, the HRC utilises other mechanisms, the most important being the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which addresses the human rights situation in all UN member states. The HRC can establish inquiry commissions and special procedures (independent experts and special rapporteurs) for individual subject areas or for human rights situation in particular countries. These procedures mandate holders are usually individuals (special rapporteurs, independent experts) and sometimes expert groups. There are currently 41 thematic and 14 country mandates, whereas the number of special procedures is constantly rising.

 

Slovenia's Activities

 

Slovenia has been devoting special attention to the HRC and actively participating in its operations: from 2007 to 2010 as a member, later as an observer and since 1 January 2016 again as a member. The country's activities are aimed primarily at its foreign policy priorities in the area of human rights. 

 

Slovenia expects the mechanisms available to the Human Rights Council for the protection and promotion of human rights to be helpful in this important mission. It actively participates in the Universal Periodic Review and supports the special procedures: in 2001, Slovenia was one of the first countries to extend an open invitation to the special procedures for specific subject areas. To date, the country has received two visits: the independent expert on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation in 2010 and the independent expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons in 2014.


Slovenia's HRC membership in the 2016–18 period


On 28 October 2015, Slovenia was elected member of the HRC for the 2016–18 period. As an HRC member, Slovenia will continue to devote special attention to traditional human rights priorities: the rights of the child, gender equality and women's rights, the protection of vulnerable groups, human rights education, and links between the environment and human rights. Slovenia assumed its duties on 1 January 2016.

 

Documents of the 33rd session are available here.