58th session of the Sub-Commission (7 - 25 August 2006)


Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006 entitled 'Human Rights Council', all mandates, mechanisms, functions and responsibilities of the Commission on Human Rights, including the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, were assumed, as of 19 June 2006, by the Human Rights Council.

In its decision 1/102 of 30 June 2006, the Human Rights Council decided to extend exceptionally for one year, subject to the review to be undertaken by the Council in conformity with General Assembly resolution 60/251, the mandates and mandate-holders of the Sub-commission. The Council, in this regard, requested the Sub-Commission to continue with the implementation of its mandate.

The Council also decided that the final session of the Sub-Commission should be convened 'starting 31 July for a period of up to four weeks, if so decided by the Sub-Commission, including its pre-sessional and in-sessional working groups'. The Council further decided that 'the working groups and the Social Forum of the Sub-Commission shall be convened to hold their annual sessions in accordance with current practices'.

The schedule of meetings of the Sub-Commission and its subsidiary bodies as announced on 30 June 2006, during the first session of the Human Rights Council, was as follows:

  • From 31 July to 4 August 2006: Working Group on Indigenous Populations;
  • From 3 to 4 August 2006: the Social Forum;

The following weeks were dedicated to other working groups of the Sub-Commission and to its plenary meetings as follows:

  • The Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery and the Working Group on Minorities met alternatively in parallel to the plenary during the first week of the session of the Sub-Commission (7 to 11 August);
  • At the 2nd meeting of its fifty-eighth session, on 7 August 2006, the Sub-Commission decided to utilize all three weeks of meeting time available to it in order to be able to carry out its programme of work. See decision 2006/101.

Background information on the Sub-Commission

The United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, the main subsidiary body of the former Commission on Human Rights, was established in 1947 with 12 members. Originally the 'Sub Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities', it was renamed in 1999.

Today, it is comprised of 26 independent experts in the field of human rights who were elected with due regard to equitable geographical distribution, and who act in their personal capacity. In 2006, the membership consists of seven experts from Africa, five from Asia, five from Latin America , three from Eastern Europe and six from Western European and other States.

The Sub-Commission's main functions are to undertake studies on human rights issues, to make recommendations concerning the prevention of discrimination of any kind relating to human rights and fundamental freedoms and the protection of racial, national, religious and linguistic minorities, and to carry out any other functions which may be entrusted to it. Studies undertaken have addressed various aspects of the realization of human rights, the administration of justice, combating discrimination and protecting the human rights of minorities, indigenous peoples and other vulnerable groups. The Sub-Commission is often described as a 'think tank'.