39. Human Rights Council in Geneva

Der Menschenrechtsrat während einer Sitzung

Der Menschenrechtsrat während einer Sitzung, © UN Foto

15.06.2018 - Article

The Human Rights Council of the United Nations holds its 39th session  between September 10 and 28, 2018, at Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Under the presidency of Vojislav Šuc, the member states will discuss the global human rights situation and adopt resolutions in order to promote the respect and protection of human rights. Germany has been a member of the Human Rights Council since the end  of 2015, its term will expire in the end of 2018. This means that the 39th session is the last for Germany as a member. Another novelty makes this session special: Michelle Bachelet, former president of Chile and the first female president of her country, will participate for the first time after being sworn in this summer as new High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations.

The Human Rights Council holds three sessions per year, each of them for several weeks. The September session will focus on several of the ongoing political and human rights crises in the world, amongst which most prominently the ongoing conflict in Myanmar, war in Syria, as well as the deepening crisis in Burundi. Venezuela and Nicaragua, both of which have received increasing public attention in recent months, will be on the agenda as well.

For Germany, its own resolution for safe drinking water and sanitation, put forward together with Spain, will play a central role. Furthermore, Germany participates in a resolution on Syria together with France, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Great Britain. The situation in Yemen too plays a key role with a resolution from the Arab Group.

The Human Rights Council succeeded the Commission on Human Rights in 2006 as the UN's main body for the protection and the promotion of human rights. Its 47 member states are elected by the UN General Assembly for a period of three years.  There are different instruments at the Council's disposal to help it carry out its mandate, such as the universal periodic review (UPR) or the special rapporteurs and commissions of inquiry (CoI). In the past, these mechanisms could contribute to the investigation on human rights violations and the adoption of solutions for difficult situations.

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