شورا ی حقوق بشر سازمان ملل چیست؟
The council, based in Geneva, Switzerland, meets at least three times per year for a total of at least ten weeks. Council members may call for special sessions. The council was established by a General Assembly vote of 170 to 4, with three abstentions. The four dissenting votes were the United States, Israel, the Marshall Islands and Palau. Belarus, Iran and Venezuela abstained.
The United States objected to the creation of the new council because it found it too similar to the commission, which had been plagued by controversy. The old commission's members were selected secretly (the new members, however, must compete for seats and are elected openly). And the commission's members often were nations that flouted human rights and brutalized large segments of their population. The commission had counted among its members such nations as the Soviet Union, China, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Cuba.
On May 9, 2004, 47 countries were elected members of the council to three-year terms. Nations may not be immediately re-elected. The distribution of seats is in accordance with equitable geographical representation (13 from the African Group; 13 from the Asian Group; 6 from the Eastern European Group; 8 from the Latin American and Caribbean Group; and 7 from the Western European and Other States Group). (For a full list of the council's membership, see this chart.
"No country has a perfect human rights record," the council states, "and all States must be accountable for their shortcomings. The test is not membership, but accountability and the demonstrated willingness of countries to provide redress and make improvements."
A member of the council may be removed should it be found to have "persistently committed gross and systematic violations of human rights," but a two-thirds majority vote of the General Assembly is required. No nation has been subjected to removal since the council's establishment in 2006.
Non-member nations may participate in council proceedings as observers.
The United States and the Council
The United States, following directives by then-President George W. Bush, refused to take a seat at the council. "We must not let the victims of human rights abuses throughout the world think that U.N. member states were willing to settle for 'good enough,' " John Bolton, the United States ambassador to the UN, said at the time. "We must not let history remember us as the architects of a council that was a 'compromise' and merely 'the best we could do' rather than one that ensured doing 'all we could do' to promote human rights."
The United States took a seat in the council after the election of President Obama.
The Council's Mission
In its own words, "The Council will be responsible for promoting universal respect for and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. It will address violations, promote human rights assistance and education, help develop international human rights law, review the human rights records of member States, work to prevent abuses, respond to emergencies, and serve as an international forum for dialogue on human rights issues."
- UN Human Rights Council - About the United Nations and Human Rights
- UN Human Rights Council Membership - List of Countries on the United Nation...
- United Nations - Information About the United Nations
- Human Rights in Peril - Watching Human Rights Around the Globe
- The United Nations - Actions and Bodies of the United Nations