The United Nations Human Rights Council was established in 2006 by General Assembly Resolution A/RES/60/251. Prior to the UNHRC the most prominent mechanism for human rights issues in the United Nations was the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, a subsidiary body of the General Assembly. The UNHRC took on the roles and responsibilities of the Commission on Human Rights, and seeks to build upon that foundation to create a more effective body for international human rights policy.
The resolution creating the Council gave it responsibilities such as to promote universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind and in a fair and equal manner, address situations of violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations, promote effective coordinating and mainstreaming of human rights within the United Nations system, to promote human rights education and learning, advisory services, technical assistance, and capacity building and contribute, through dialogue and cooperation, toward the prevention of human rights violations and respond promptly to human rights emergencies.
The council is composed of 47 countries that are designated by vote in the General Assembly, who are required to undergo the Universal Periodic Review to verify that they comply and cooperate with the Council agreement applying in the country.