The Human Rights Council

The Human Rights Council, created by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006, is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe, addressing situations of human rights violations, and making recommendations on them.

The Council is made up of 47 Member States which are elected by members of the General Assembly of the United Nations through direct and secret ballot. Members of the Council serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.

The Council’s rotating membership is based on equitable geographical distribution of the following seats: African States: 13 seats; Asia-Pacific States: 13 seats; Latin American and Caribbean States: 8 seats; Western European and other States: 7 seats; Eastern European States: 6 seats.

2019 Human Rights Council Members

As of January 1, 2019, 114 UN Member States will have served as Human Rights Council Members: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Czechia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Republic of North Macedonia, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand,  Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia.

By Madaline Keros, UN Rep (AWC Bern)

In 1946, the first Chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights was a woman, Eleanor Roosevelt. Appointed by Harry Truman, she played a pivotal role not only in drafting but also in brokering agreement by other UN member states on the UN Declaration on Human Rights. The Commission on Human Rights began...

By Madaline Keros, UN Representative Geneva


Palais des Nations, March 22, 2017

The forces of the Arab Spring in 2011 unleashed surprising responses and events—some positive and some negative—in an area of the world that many experts and politicians considered to be “resistant to change”. The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) organized a side event on March...

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