Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

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Candidature for the UN Human Rights Council


The Czech Republic is seeking a seat on the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva for the 2011–2014 term. This candidature for membership of the UN Human Rights Council is currently the Czech Republic’s priority candidature in the system of UN bodies.

A decision on our membership will be taken in the elections to be held at the 65th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York in May 2011. Council membership is one of the most prestigious positions and greatest challenges in multilateral diplomacy.

The UN Council for Human Rights is the principal universal body for the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide. As such, this body assesses human rights in UN Member States, expresses opinions on violations, supports activities to document and prevent such abuses, responds to emergencies around the world, contributes to the development of international human rights law and serves as the main international forum for dialogue on human rights protection and development.

For the Czech Republic, Council membership would be an opportunity to wield more influence over this forum’s proceedings and thus meet one of the main objectives of Czech foreign policy: to actively promote human rights worldwide. Council membership would also present the Czech Republic with the opportunity and means to pursue its objectives and priorities within the European Union more effectively. In this important period of Lisbon Treaty implementation, it could contribute significantly to EU policy-making within the UN system.

The underlying document through which states seeking seats on the UN Council for Human Rights profile themselves externally is their voluntary pledges and commitments, adopted in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251 of 2006. The voluntary pledges and commitments summarize the main points of the human rights areas on which candidates for Council membership intend to focus nationally and internationally.

In February 2011, the Czech Republic officially notified its voluntary pledges and commitments to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva and to the office of the President of the UN General Assembly in New York. This document, reflecting our intended contribution to the global, regional and national promotion and protection of human rights, will be published on the website of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.