Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee – the UN General Assembly Third Committee

The General Assembly assigns agenda items relating to a range of social, humanitarian affairs and human rights issues that affect peoples all over the world to its Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee, commonly referred to as the “Third Committee”.

The Committee meets in session every October through November and holds general discussions on these issues. Representatives of Member States and UN entities deliver statements and interactive dialogues are held with the High Commissioner for Human Rights and a number of the Special Procedures mandate holders of the Human Rights Council.

The Committee adopts (non-binding) resolutions on human rights issues and recommends that the General Assembly adopt them. Since the establishment of the Human Rights Council in 2006, the Committee has also considered the report of the Human Rights Council, presented in person by the Chairperson of the Council, and acted upon the proposals contained in the report.

The Committee also discusses questions relating to the advancement of women, the protection of children, indigenous issues, the treatment of refugees, the promotion of fundamental freedoms through the elimination of racism and racial discrimination, and the right to self-determination.  The Committee also addresses important social development questions such as issues related to youth, family, ageing, persons with disabilities, crime prevention, criminal justice, and international drug control.

The Committee also interacts with special rapporteurs, independent experts and chairs of working groups as mandated by the Human Rights Council.

All the reports submitted by the Secretary-General, the High Commissioner and the Special Procedures mandate holders are available on the website of the Committee.