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Human rights

Information on the Human Rights Council.
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The Human Rights Council

Founded in 2006, the Human Rights Council aims to ensure the respect and promotion of human rights in the world, as well as to prevent and respond to major human rights crises. 47 states serve in the Council for a period of 3 years. The Council holds 3 regular meetings a year in Geneva. Each session lasts about 4 weeks. Special sessions may also be held in order to respond to crisis situations. The Council also supports the mandates of Special Rapporteurs on countries or themes. These Rapporteurs are independent UN experts mandated to examine and report on the human rights situation in a specific country or relating to a particular human right.

Belgium has been elected to the Human Rights Council and is currently serving a 3 year term from the start of 2023 until the end of 2025. The Belgian priorities during our term in the Council are as follows:

  • Contribute to a dynamic and affective Human Rights Council that can fulfill al aspects of its mandate
  • Strengthen accountability and the promotion the rule of law
  • Promote civic space and protect human rights defenders
  • Enhance equality and counter discrimination, with particular attention to women and girls
  • Promote all human rights in their indivisibility and interdependence

The Council also meets for sessions dedicated to the Universal Periodic Review. Every four years, this mechanism gives an in-depth analysis of the human rights situation in every UN member country. Belgium actively participates in this exercise by seeking explanations from many countries, as well as by formulating recommendations on issues which are particular to each of these countries. Belgium has undergone its third Universal Periodic Review in May 2021. For more information please visit here.

For further information please visit the FPS Foreign Affairs website.