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The UN Human Rights Council

A Practical Anatomy

Eric Tistounet

Since its establishment the work of the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has been subject to many interpretations, theories, comments or conclusions. This comprehensive book dissects every aspect of the UNHRC’s work and analyses the efficiency of, and interactions between, its mechanisms. Authored by the first Secretary of the UNHRC, this book provides unique practitioner insights into the complex decision making processes of the Council alongside the core variations from its predecessor. This book is the outcome of a six-months research fellowship carried out by the author at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.
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Chapter 6: The Human Rights Council voting procedure and procedural motions

Eric Tistounet


The digestive system involves the breakdown of food into components which can be absorbed and assimilated by the body. This chapter describes how the Council proceeds with the absorption of many types of situations and crises with a view to assimilating them in the format of efficient outcomes. The way the Council takes action on proposals – usually referred to as resolutions or decisions – or motions may somewhat be compared with the way an organism absorbs nutriments to enable the body to operate over time and select priorities. This quasi digestive system, another odd analogy, is studied in the current chapter. By virtue of the first Operational Paragraph of the General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 60/251 establishing the Human Rights Council, the Council is ‘a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly’. In concrete terms, this implies that the Rules of Procedure applicable to the UNGA are the same in the Council (see Section XIII of the Rules of Procedures of the General Assembly, from Rule 96 to Rule 133).

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