Context: Terrorism is a “crime against humanity”, said External Affairs Minister.

  • He was addressing the High Level Segment of the 46th Session of Human Rights Council (HRC).
  • Recently, India reacted angrily to observations by the Special Rapporteurs on Minority Issues and Freedom of Religion or Belief on apparent erosion of rights in Kashmir and the rest of India. 

Key points:

  • Human rights agenda in the world is facing a major challenge from terrorism and expressed India’s desire to work with other members of the HRC. 
  • Terrorism is a crime against humanity and violates the most fundamental human right, namely the ‘Right to Life’.
  • India’s approach to the UN Human Rights Council is guided by spirit of engagement, dialogue and consultation. 
  • Equal emphasis should be placed on both promotion and protection of human rights. 

The Human Rights Council 

  • It is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them. 
  • Membership: The Council is made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly. 
    • Five regional groups for membership: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Western Europe and Eastern Europe.
  • Duration: The members are elected for a period of three years. Each member can hold office for a maximum of two consecutive terms.
  • The Human Rights Council replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
  • HQ: It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.


  • Universal Periodic Review mechanism serves to assess the human rights situations in all United Nations Member States.
    • This allows civil society groups to bring accusations of human rights violations in member states to the attention of the UN.
    • Under this mechanism, the human rights situation of all UN Member States is reviewed every 5 years.
  • The Complaint Procedure allows individuals and organizations to bring human rights violations to the attention of the Council.
  • The Advisory Committee serves as the Council’s “think tank” providing it with expertise and advice on thematic human rights issues.
  • The Human Rights Council also works with the UN Special Procedures established by the former Commission on Human Rights and now assumed by the Council. 
    • These are made up of special rapporteurs, special representatives, independent experts and working groups that monitor, examine, advise and publicly report on thematic issues or human rights situations in specific countries.
  • Resolutions: The UNHRC resolutions are not legally binding but have authoritative and moral significance.