Posted by: lauraannwilson | January 27, 2015

Overview of the United Nations Human Rights Council, and the Australian Permanent Mission

Australian Permanent Mission

Today (Friday 23 January 2015) I commenced my internship training day at the Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). My role is as the Indigenous Intern with the Australian Delegation. My internship runs from today until Friday 13 March 2015. During this time, I will be assisting the Australian Delegation with the 21st Session of the Universal Periodic Review Period and the Human Rights Council Period.

In this blog, I will provide a brief background to the UNHRC, and the Periodic Review. I will outline the Human Rights Council Period in future posts.

Overview of United Nations Human Rights Council 

The UNHRC is an intergovernmental body within the United Nations structure. It consists of 47 member States (including Australia). The United Nations General Assembly elects the member States.

The UNHRC was established in 2006. It replaced the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

The UNHRC aims to:

– strengthen, protect and promote human rights globally

– highlight and address human rights violations

– make recommendations to amend violations

The UNHRC functions include:

– Universal Periodic Review Period

– Advisory Committee

– Complaint Procedure

The Advisory Committee provides expert advice on human rights issues. The Complaints Process allows individual persons and organisations to raise alleged human rights violations for UNHRC discussion.

The Universal Periodic Review Period involves all of the member states. It is a peer review process, where each member state provides comment on its human rights status, and other member states provide review. The Universal Periodic Review Working Group holds three sessions per annum. The sessions run for two weeks. In each session, 16 member States are reviewed.

Currently, the 21st Session of the Universal Periodic Review is running (19 – 30 January 2015). This week the following member States were reviewed: Kyrgystan, Kiribati, Guinea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Spain, Lesotho, Kenya, Armenia, Guinea-Bissau. Next week the following member States will be reviewed: Sweden, Grenada, Turkey, Guyana, Kuwait. The sessions are held at the United Nations Office, Geneva (8-14 Avenue de la Paix, Geneva).

I will be assisting the Australian Delegation staff with the Universal Periodic Review Period. In this role I will assist with note taking and drafting cables to Canberra. I will also deliver Australia’s Statement on Guyana at the Universal Periodic Review Period. You can watch me deliver the Statement live at 9am (Central EuropeanTime) on Wednesday 28 January 2015). To watch please visit: untvweb.com

For further information on the UNHRC, the UN Office in Geneva and the Australian Permanent Mission:

unog.ch

ohchr.org

geneva.mission.gov.au

Rm XX


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