With the dissolution of the Commission on Human Rights and its replacement by the Human Rights Council in 2006, responsibility for the Sub-Commission passed from the former to the latter. On 30 June 2006 the Council resolved to extend the Sub-Commission's mandate on an exceptional one-year basis and subject to the Council's subsequent review. The Sub-Commission met for the final time in August 2006; among the recommendations it adopted at that session was one for the creation of a Human Rights Consultative Committee as a standing body to assist the Human Rights Council.
Its primary mandate is described as:
Other functions and tasks could also be assigned to it by ECOSOC or the Commission on Human Rights.
It is composed of 26 human rights experts, each with an alternate and each elected for a term of four years, with half of the posts up for election every two years. Membership was selected from amongst the eligible candidates from United Nations member states in such a way as to result in roughly equal and proportional representation from each of the continents.
As of 2004, the breakdown of membership was:
The Sub-Commission has eight working groups, which conduct studies on discriminatory practices and make recommendations to ensure that racial, national, religious and linguistic minorities are protected by law.