This report card assesses the progress of the United Nations Human Rights Council over
a two-year period that begins with the conclusion of the institution-building process in
June 2007 and extends through the end of the Council’s 11th Session in June 2009. The
report assesses the performance of the Council on a number of key issues, including its
ability to take timely action on some of the most egregious human rights abuses occurring
in specific countries or regions of the world, and its ability to address emerging global
threats to fundamental human rights such as freedom of expression and freedom of
association. The report also focuses on the ability of nongovernmental stakeholders—
human rights defenders and civil society organizations—to engage with and positively
affect the functioning of the Council. Finally, the report assesses the actions of the U.S.
government and the broader community of the world’s democracies—both of which bear
special responsibility for ensuring the Council’s effectiveness.
The primary finding of the report is that a small but active group of countries with very
poor human rights records have so far succeeded in limiting the ability of the Council to
protect human rights, despite their minority status on that body. Member states that
Freedom House designates as Not Free make up less than one-fifth of the Council, but
devote considerable resources to their work in Geneva.
Read the full report here.