Background information
Tuesday, 01 January 2008 09:00


The General Assembly is the main deliberative organ of the United Nations (UN). It is composed of representatives of all member States and has a general mandate to discuss and make recommendations on any matters within the scope of the UN Charter. Under Article 13 of the Charter, the General Assembly is specifically mandated to ‘initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of …assisting in the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion’.


The plenary regular session of the General Assembly runs from the beginning of  September to the end of December, but it can reconvene at any time during the year. Each year the General Assembly addresses over 150 agenda items, which are considered either in the plenary or in one of its six committees.


The Third Committee (Social, Cultural, and Humanitarian) addresses most agenda items relevant to human rights defenders, including women's rights, children’s rights, the rights of indigenous peoples, the elimination of racism and human rights questions. Numerous special procedures also report to the Third Committee on a number of these issues and engage in an interactive dialogue with States. The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) is also relevant to human rights defenders, since it evaluates and approves the budgetary requirements arising out of the work of the other five committees. After completing their work, the Third and the Fifth Committee, as well as the other three main committees, submit draft resolutions to the General Assembly for final adoption.

Further reading



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Last Updated on Thursday, 27 September 2012 09:35
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