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U.N. Human Rights Council: Gaza War Crimes Commission to Be Formed

(July 30, 2014) On July 23, 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution after concluding a special session on human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The resolution included the decision “to establish an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights […]

Macau; U.N. Human Rights Council: Activist to File Complaint

(Feb. 27, 2013) On February 21, 2013, Jason Chao was arrested by the police in Macau, together with activists protesting outside a building in which Wu Bangguo, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China, was expected. Chao stated that he was not directly part of […]

U.N. Human Rights Council: First Resolution on Internet Free Speech

(July 12, 2012) On July 5, 2012, the Human Rights Council (HRC) of the United Nations, unanimously adopted a resolution to protect the free speech of individuals on the Internet, the first such U.N. resolution of its kind. The resolution was adopted during the HRC's 20th session, held July 18-July 6, in Geneva. While they […]

U.N. Human Rights Council: First Resolution Against Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation

(June 28, 2011) On June 17, 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), by a narrow margin of 23-19 (with three abstentions), adopted its first resolution on rights for homosexuals and transgendered individuals, calling for an end to sexual discrimination and recognizing it as a “priority issue” of the U.N. (Julia Zebley, UN Rights […]

U.N. Human Rights Council: Water, Sanitation Rights Binding

(Oct. 6, 2010) The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on September 30, 2010, that declares the right to safe drinking water and sanitation to be basic human rights contained in existing treaties and thus legally binding. Countries that are parties to the treaties have the responsibility to ensure these rights are realized. […]

Burma; U.N. Human Rights Council: Resolution Critical of Record on Freedoms

(Mar. 31, 2010) On March 26, 2010, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) passed a resolution calling for Myanmar's (Burma's) government to ensure that this year's elections are free and transparent. The HRC, which includes 47 member nations, had started its 13th regular session at the beginning of March. It criticized Myanmar's new electoral […]

U.N. Human Rights Council: New Members Added

(May 21, 2009) The Human Rights Council (HRC) is an intergovernmental organization within the United Nations system, established by the General Assembly in May 2006 by virtue of Resolution 60/251, to replace the Commission on Human Rights. (G.A. Res. 60/251, U.N. Doc. A/RES/60/251 (Apr. 3, 2006), available at It has 47 member states, which […]

U.N. Human Rights Council: Milestone Optional Protocol Adopted

(July 2, 2008) On June 18, 2008, the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC), by consensus rather than a vote, adopted the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which “would allow persons to petition an international human rights body about the violation of their rights under the Covenant.” (Optional Protocol […]