Committee language: English
The Human Rights Council of the UN (United Nations Human Rights Council, for short: UNHRC) is one of the subsidiary organs of the General Assembly and is the main UN forum for cooperation on human rights (Resolution 60/251). The Human Rights Council is obliged to meet at least three times a year and consists of 47 states, which are elected by the General Assembly according to the regional group principle for a period of three years.
The main task of the MRR is to support states in fulfilling their human rights obligations and to make recommendations to the General Assembly regarding the further development of international law in the field of human rights. To this end, the MRR regularly reviews each individual UN member state within the framework of the Universal Periodic Review and may convene special procedures that deal specifically with a human rights situation in a state or a human rights issue. Other instruments of the HRC are the advisory committees and complaints procedures.
International fight against human trafficking
Many people are forced to look for new opportunities abroad because of conflicts or a lack of employment opportunities. Too often, traffickers take advantage of this situation and force migrants into prostitution or work. Since more and more people are getting into human trafficking-like structures due to diverse and extensive conflicts, the HRC has decided to put the fight against human trafficking back on its agenda.
International protection of academic freedom
In the Recommendation Concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel from 1997, the UNESCO describes academic freedom as “the right, without constriction by prescribed doctrine, to freedom of teaching and discussion, freedom in carrying out research and disseminating and publishing the results thereof, freedom to express freely their opinion about the institution or system in which they work, freedom from institutional censorship and freedom to participate in professional or representative academic bodies”. As the only international instrument that concentrates solely on higher education, this recommendation is of immense importance. In reality however, scientific research and academic education is threatened by a variety of different problems. Not only the repression of certain research projects, but also the dismissal and arrest of critical academics poses a grand risk. Even in countries where academic freedom is protected by law, it can be observed that this freedom is in fact gradually being undermined. For instance, the commercialization of higher education causes an erosion of academic autonomy and an increasing number of short-term contracts. Additionally, deteriorating financial and human resources for professorships as well as earmarked research funding through third-party funds from the private sector represent a problem that should not be underestimated. But how can academic freedom be protected in an international framework, especially in the context of international research collaborations? And how can the countries of the United Nations be supported in legally implementing the Recommendation Concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel on a national level?
Protection of youth from recruitment by extremist organizations
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child grants every child the right to protection from physical and mental violence and exploitation. Nevertheless, children and young people fight in extremist groups and often lose their lives in the process. Especially in times of digital information dissemination, these organisations also have the opportunity to carry out transnational propaganda. Since this means that more and more children and young people are falling into the hands of terrorist organisations, the UN Human Rights Council has decided to deal with this issue.