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UN Bodies: Who do we work with?

  • The Economic and Social Council
  • The Human Rights Council
  • The Committees

The Economic and Social Council

Through its con­sul­ta­tive status HEART’S HOME is enti­tled to con­tribute to the work of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). ECOSOC is, along with the General Assembly and the Security Council, one of the main bodies in the UN system.

The mis­sion of the ECOSOC is described in Chapter X of the UN Charter, that states, inter alia, that it is in charge of: “ pro­moting respect for, and obser­vance of, human rights and fun­da­mental free­doms for all.” Therefore it has to remain in con­stant con­tact with non-gov­ern­mental orga­ni­za­tions, reg­u­larly requiring their views on topics they work upon.

Though its head­quar­ters are located in New York, many of ECOSOC sub­sidiary ser­vices (com­mis­sions...) and one of its offices are in Geneva. Indeed ECOSOC itself holds ple­nary ses­sions only twice a year, in NYC and in Geneva. Thus the remaining part of its work is actu­ally shoul­dered by a large number of com­mis­sions and offices. They can either tackle the­matic issues, or be in charge of a specific geo­graph­ical area.

The Human Rights Council

The Council has just replaced the former Commission on Human Rights, and is the main body in charge of Human Rights issues within the ECOSOC. It works exclu­sively in Geneva, holding three ple­nary ses­sions a year in the Palais des Nations.

Each of its ses­sions cre­ates great mobi­liza­tion among Human Rights NGOs, including Heart’s Home. Up to now, we have been working almost exclu­sively with the HRC. Attending its three-week ses­sions is the basis of our work, and we reg­u­larly issue min­utes of their con­tents.

To know more about the ses­sions we pre­vi­ously attended, click here

The Committees

They closely mon­itor the activ­i­ties of all UN bodies, ensuring that they do comply with all obli­ga­tions expressed in the Charter and in other cur­rent inter­na­tional treaties.

They are com­monly known as “treaty bodies”, for each com­mittee focuses on one par­tic­ular treaty, after which it was actu­ally named. They bring sup­port to Member States in order to achieve better ful­fil­ment of those treaties. Their mem­bers are not appointed by Member States, and are there­fore called “in­de­pen­dent experts”. Currently 8 com­mit­tees are in office, all of them working in the Palais Wilson in Geneva. They are, among others, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Committee on Human Rights, or the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Each com­mittee holds sev­eral public ses­sions every year, during which a cer­tain number of coun­tries are reviewed indi­vid­u­ally. Heart’s Home tries to attend any ses­sion related to coun­tries where it is located in.


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