The Human Rights Council is the principal United Nations intergovernmental body responsible for human rights. It is composed of 47 Member States, which meets in at least three sessions per year in Geneva, Switzerland.
Its role includes addressing violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations, the promotion of respect for human rights for all, and effective coordination and mainstreaming of human rights within the UN system.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is the secretariat for the Human Rights Council.
Elected for three-year terms, Member States of the Council discuss, take action and pass resolutions related to various items of a standing agenda:
During a given session the Council considers the activities of its subsidiary human rights procedures and mechanisms, and may organize panel discussions and special events to enhance dialogue and mutual understanding on specific issues.
Outside its normal sessions, the Council may also hold special sessions related to country-specific or thematic issues.
In addition to Member States of the Council, Observers, which include non-Member States, inter-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), may also participate in a session.
The Council’s sessions are broadcast live via webcast. Past sessions are archived.
Only NGOs in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) can be accredited to participate in the Human Rights Council’s sessions as Observers.
As Observers, NGOs are able, amongst other things, to:
for in-person meetings of the Council during the 45th session – Subject to change (updated as of 11 September)
1. A practical guide for NGO participants (about accreditation, attending the session, access to the public gallery, requesting a room for a parallel event, making an oral statement, documentation and resources, and participation in general, etc.)
Spanish. Before you request for accreditation to the HRC/UPR sessions and related meetings, please ensure that you have finalized the annual accreditation of your NGO with the United Nations Office at Geneva. For more information on annual accreditations, please consult the following website:
Written statements of NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC shall be submitted through the online platform available at
https://ngoreg.ohchr.org. In view of the 46th regular session of the Human Rights Council (22 February–19 March 2021), the registration for NGO written statements for this session will open on 19 January 2021 at 9 am (Geneva time).
Deadline: 1 February 2021 at 6 pm (Geneva time).
IMPORTANT: Please make sure to get acquainted with the updated guidelines on the process and the platform of submission of NGO written statements (please see point 3 below).
Updated guidelines on the process and the platform of submission of NGO written statements (as of January 2021) can be downloaded here to assist:
Link to Oral Statement Registration for HRC 45. Download here the guidelines on how to use the online registration system for Oral Statements
The online system to register for oral statements will open on Tuesday 8 September at 14:00 (Geneva time). Please note that NGOs are requested to re-register, as credentials used for previous sessions cannot be brought forward. NGOs that have already registered for written statements will have to use the same credentials.”
5. NGO joint-statement form - Oral Statement [Download].
NGO Side-Event room requests: In view of the 45th regular session of the Human Rights Council (14 September – 6 October 2020) and in accordance with information from the United Nations Office at Geneva, side events cannot be held in the Palais des Nations in the COVID-19 context. Should NGOs organise events either outside the Palais des Nations or virtually, the Secretariat will bear no responsibility or liability whatsoever related to the holding of such events. For further information, please contact the Secretariat at:
Working with the United Nations Human Rights Programme: Handbook for Civil Society.
8. Participating in the Human Rights Council by video message: [Download]. For the specific modalities for HRC45, please refer to the
Practical guidelines on how to create captions.
9. Calendar and deadlines for registration:
For further information or assistance, please contact the NGO Liaison team of the Human Rights Council Secretariat at
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