Human Rights Council
What is the Human Rights Council?
The Human Rights Council (HRC) is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system, which is responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights and addressing human rights violations across the world. The HRC holds regular sessions in Geneva three times a year; in March, June and September.
The HRC is composed of 47 UN Member States, which are elected by the UN General Assembly.
Our engagement at the Human Rights Council
NGOs including those working on children’s rights can engage with the HRC through a number of different mechanisms and processes: Influencing interactive dialogues, panels and resolutions linked to its regular sessions, including the annual day on the rights of the child.
We coordinate network activities at the HRC and provide awareness-raising and technical assistance to our wider membership. Through this collaborative approach and by bridging the local to global, we create a stronger voice for children and are helping to ensure that children’s views influence the work of the Council to advance children’s rights at all levels.
Promoting meaningful, safe and effective child participation and civil society space for children is one of the strategic priorities and key areas of expertise of Child Rights Connect. We have been a driving force to advance the debate, set the standards and build the capacity for child participation at international level. Our main achievement has been to successfully advocate for and support the UN Committee on the rights of the child to develop its standards and practices for child participation in all its areas of work. This has resulted in more children engaging in monitoring, reporting and advocacy processes in a more meaningful and effective way.
However, the broader UN human rights system is yet to incorporate effectively children’s views in its work. Child Rights Connect empowers children, children’s rights defenders and States so that they better understand and promote the role of children within the broader human rights framework and then strengthen the national level child participation processes accordingly.
Annual Day on the Rights of the Child
Every year, the HRC dedicates a full day to discuss a specific children’s rights theme during its March session. At the end of the session, it negotiates and adopts a resolution about the specific theme or children’s rights in general. This more general resolution is called an Omnibus Resolution.
How to Take Part in the Annual Day
Each year, Child Rights Connect helps to organise the Annual Day along with States and UN agencies. We create an ad hoc group of NGOs for each theme to ensure that the NGOs with relevant expertise can contribute to both the organisation of the panel discussion and the resolution.
By mobilising our members and partners for the Annual Day each year, we can influence a stronger child rights-based approach in both the discussion on the day as well as the text of the resolution. We also coordinate advocacy for particular themes to be addressed. Since 2012, a thematic report on the Annual Day has been prepared by OHCHR in advance of the panel and resolution. This is another opportunity whereby Child Rights Connect takes forward a network approach to submit suggested text and advocacy positions.
See how Child Rights Connect ensures children’s voices are taken into account: