Human Rights Council

The UN Human Rights Council is an Assembly of 47 States elected by the UN General Assembly, taking into account State's commitments to human rights and equitable geographic distribution. The Human Rights Council was established in 2006 by General Assembly resolution 60/251 to replace the Human Rights Commission. States cannot be immediately re-elected if they have sat for 2 consecutive terms.

One of the new mechanisms set up by the Human Rights Council is the Universal Periodic Review, which reviews the human rights record all 192 States UN member States every 4 years.

In addition, a new Complaints Procedure was established, allowing individuals and organisations to bring human rights violations to the attention of the Council.

The Human Rights Council also assumed the Special Procedures established by the former Human Rights Commission, which are made up of special rapporteurs, special representatives, independent experts and working groups mandated to monitor, examine, advise and publicly report on thematic issues ("thematic mandates") or countries ("country mandates").


Special Procedures

Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment:

The Special Rapporteur on torture was established in 1985.  The Special Rapporteur's remit is to provide the Council with information on State parties' legislative and administrative actions in relation to torture, and the extent to which State parties are, or are not, fulfilling their duties under international human rights law relating to torture. Annual and Interim Reports are prepared based on information gathered in the field and by correspondence with governments. The Special Rapporteur also receives and transmits urgent appeals to States with regard to individuals reported to be at risk of torture, as well as communications on past alleged cases of torture.

Information on torture should be sent to the Special Rapporteur in written form :

c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,

United Nations Office at Geneva,

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland;


Further information on what to include in relation to individual cases is available here. Although it is important to provide as much detail as possible, the lack of a comprehensive accounting should not necessarily preclude the submission of reports.

Other relevant thematic mandates:

Other special procedures which may be relevant to cases of torture include the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women,  Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation & guarantees on non-recurrence.  Click here for further information.

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Where We Work


Victims Rights Working Groups

Criminal Law Reform in Sudan

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