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Information/NGO Participation

General Information Note for NGOs on the Human Rights Council

(as of July 2008)


According to General Assembly resolution 60/251, paragraph 10, the Human Rights Council (HRC) shall meet regularly throughout the year and schedule no fewer than three sessions per year, including a main session, for a total duration of no less than ten weeks, and shall be able to hold special sessions, when needed, at the request of a member of the Council with the support of one third of the membership of the Council.  

Pursuant to General Assembly Resolution 60/251, paragraph 11, the participation of NGOs in the HRC shall be based on the arrangements and practices observed by the Commission on Human Rights, including Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31 of 25 July 1996. The participation of NGOs in the regular and special sessions of the HRC, as well as the sessions of its working group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), is a prerogative of NGOs enjoying consultative status with ECOSOC.

Information on ECOSOC resolution 1996/31, as well as guidance on how to acquire ECOSOC consultative status, is available at the following UN webpages:


Where to find relevant information

Prior to each HRC session, a dedicated webpage will be accessible through the HRC's main webpage, where official information and documentation regarding the relevant session (including the session programme of work, the agenda and annotated agenda, information on accreditation procedure, room-booking for side events, and modalities on the list of speakers, as well as other documentation, such as NGO written statements) will be available.

An information note for NGOs is uploaded a few weeks before each HRC session on the relevant session webpage.  

Additionally, other relevant information can be found on the HRC-related Extranet page, including draft documentation, copies of oral statements as delivered by states and other stakeholders, and draft resolutions. The HRC-related Extranet can be accessed through: http://portal.ohchr.org/portal/page/portal/HRCExtranet .

To log in:

Username: hrc extranet
Password: 1session

A Webcast service , containing the archives of past HRC sessions, as well as live broadcast of the session in progress, is also available through the HRC webpage: http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/ .

The Secretariat strongly encourages NGOs to regularly consult the relevant HRC webpage, as well as the Extranet .  

Programme of work and timetable

The annual programme of work of the HRC is available on the HRC Extranet.

The programme of work for each session becomes available in the lead-up to the session, and can be found as a link on the webpage of the relevant session, as well as on the Extranet.


  Accreditation to HRC specific sessions

Accreditation to HRC sessions, for which the HRC Secretariat is responsible, is encouraged in advance of HRC sessions. Information on accreditation for specific sessions will be made available in the lead-up to each session as a link on the webpage of the relevant session.

NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC wishing to accredit representatives to sessions of the Human Rights Council should fax a request for accreditation to the HRC Secretariat prior to the beginning of the relevant session, to the attention of the accreditation officer at +41 (0)22 917 90 11. During the session, requests should be faxed to +41 (0)22 917 04 94.

The letter requesting accreditation should contain the following elements:

  • It should be submitted on the official letterhead of the organization;
  • It should clearly state the title and duration of the session the organization wishes to attend, e.g. "Name of NGO, in consultative status with ECOSOC, wishes to send the following members to attend the [ insert relevant session number] session of the HRC ([ insert dates of session ])...";
  • The letter needs to be signed by the President or the Main Representative of the organization;
  • It should also indicate the name/s (first name and family name) of the person/s who will represent the organization at the HRC session:
    • Names of persons must appear exactly as they appear in the ID document,
    • Family Name(s) have to be capitalized .

  Annual or temporary NGO representatives in possession of an identity badge issued by UNOG Security and Safety Section, and valid for the duration of the session, will have unrestricted access to the conference rooms.

  Any other participants without a UNOG identity badge should apply in person to the security entrance at Pregny Gate , 8 - 14 Avenue de la Paix; on presentation of an identity document and a copy of the letter of accreditation faxed by the concerned NGO, a photo-badge valid for the duration of the Council session will be issued.

  Assistance for requesting travel visas

Upon request, the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) NGO Liaison Office (not the HRC Secretariat) may issue relevant 'attestation of accreditation' for visa application purposes. In order to obtain such an attestation, NGOs enjoying consultative status with ECOSOC should explicitly indicate their need in the accreditation request faxed to the HRC Secretariat. The latter will accordingly transmit the request to the UNOG Liaison Office which will issue the attestation and transmit it to the concerned NGO headquarters. The UNOG Liaison Office may be contacted at the following address:

United Nations Office at Geneva

NGO Liaison Office
Office of the Director-General
Room 153
Palais des Nations
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: + 41 (0)22 917 21 27
Fax: +41 (0)22 917 05 83
Email: ungeneva.ngoliaison@unog.ch

  Access to the public gallery

A limited number of seats in the Public Gallery, above the conference room, are available for persons wishing to observe the proceedings of the HRC without being accredited as participants (i.e. students, and academics). Individuals or groups who wish to attend are required to fax a letter (24 hours before the desired date) to the HCR Secretariat, (+41 (0) 22 917 90 11 prior to the session, and at +41 (0) 22 917 04 94 during the session), containing the following information:

(a) Date(s) of the visit;

(b) Purpose of the visit; and

(c) Full name(s) of those wishing to attend.

Access to the public gallery will be granted depending on the availability of seating and other circumstances.

NGO written statements

NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC may submit written statements relevant to the work of the Human Rights Council (in accordance with paragraphs 36 and 37 of ECOSOC resolution 1996/31) ahead of the relevant session.

The HRC Secretariat wishes to draw the attention of NGOs to ECOSOC resolution 1996/31, which authorizes written statements of: a) 2,000 words for NGOs in general consultative status; and b) 1,500 words for NGOs in special consultative status and on the roster.

Please kindly note that a deadline for the submission of written statements for a given session is generally set some two weeks before the beginning of the session . The HRC Secretariat will not be able to ensure the timely circulation of written statements late in submission. Specific deadlines are identified in the information note for NGOs issued ahead of each session.

NGO written statements are to be submitted in accordance with the guidelines for the submission of NGO written statements .

Guidelines and forms for submission of NGO written statements

Oral statements  

Accredited NGOs may make oral statements under substantive items of the HRC agenda. Modalities for NGO oral interventions are posted on the HRC Extranet page, under the NGO Liaison information page. Copies of the Modalities are also made available at the list of speakers' desk, and at the NGO liaison office during HRC sessions.

The list of speakers' desk is located inside the plenary room. NGOs can only be (pre-) registered by persons holding a badge of the concerned NGO.

In order to facilitate the participation of NGOs not based/represented in Geneva/Switzerland, pre-inscription by electronic mail is allowed as soon as the List of Speakers opens in the plenary room. Pre-inscription forms should be emailed to hrcngo@ohchr.org . All electronic pre-inscriptions and pre-registrations made at the list of speakers' desk, as well as the relevant speaker's name should be confirmed in person in the 24 hours preceding the relevant meeting at the list of speakers' desk.

Inscription forms will be made available on the relevant webpage of each session in the lead-up to the session.

Please note that 25 copies of the oral statement are to be provided to the UN Conference Service at the beginning of the relevant meeting. Conference Service staff can be approached in the middle of the plenary room. Photocopiers are available near the plenary room.

To take the floor, NGO speakers should use the conference-table seat reserved for that purpose.

Additional copies of NGO oral statements may be placed by NGOs only on the tables at the back of the plenary room, after delivery of the relevant statement. NGOs are not permitted to distribute documents, pamphlets or any other material in the conference room. Reserved desks are available outside the plenary room for display of documentation, clearly attributable to NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC.

Room-bookings/side events

Accredited NGOs may organize parallel events of relevance to the work of the HRC, taking into account availability of rooms.

Reservation forms will be made available on the relevant webpage of each session in the lead-up to the session.

The NGO in charge of organizing the parallel event may invite guests not accredited to the HRC session to be present at their meeting. The concerned NGO is requested to provide the HRC Secretariat, with a complete list of its guests at least 48 hours prior to the day of the meeting. Accordingly, "Parallel Event" photo-badges will be issued on the day of the scheduled event, at the "Pregny Gate" security entrance, upon presentation of a valid identification paper.

Please be advised that the Secretariat does not provide interpretation for NGOs' parallel events. NGOs may bring their own interpreters, if they so wish, and inform the HRC Secretariat accordingly ahead of time. It is reminded that the use of cameras/videos during parallel events is not encouraged. Only journalists and camerapeople accredited on a yearly basis with UNOG are allowed to use camera and video equipment.  

NGO Liaison Office

During HRC sessions, the HRC Secretariat maintains an NGO liaison office, normally located with the other Secretariat offices, to facilitate NGO participation in the sessions. For further questions and queries, kindly note the following contact detail:

Email: civilsocietyunit@ohchr.org
Tel: +41 (0)22 917 96 56
Fax: +41 (0)22 917 90 11


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