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Study of the human anatomy, quite clearly, starts with an analysis of the body as a whole. It is not possible to conjecture what lies within a body if there is no understanding of the overall body being studied. Insofar as the Human Rights Council is concerned, this will be done succinctly based on an overall description of the Council and its main mechanisms. The aim of this chapter is to offer some general considerations that are necessary to understand their main features. The Human Rights Council (The Council) was established by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly (The Assembly) in its Resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006 to replace the Commission on Human Rights (The Commission). Its status, which is supposed to be reviewed on a regular basis, is that of a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly.
During the Western European Middle Ages, there was no rational medicine. Surgery was the province of barbers, executioners and bathkeepers. Dissecting dead bodies was not authorized and those who tried to behave as scientists had no other choice than to carry on their anatomical research in secret. Ideas about biology were certainly odd and surely not even remotely connected to reality. It was considered that, for instance, women had more water in their bodies than men and thus, if there were frequent rains during pregnancy, the baby was more likely to be born female. In the same vein, the liver was supposed to secrete yellow bile, the spleen black bile and the heart blood. Contrary to Greek philosophers, it was taught that the brain was merely a phlegm-secreting gland. Persons with disabilities were regarded as possessed by evil spirits and medicine was carried out using exorcism, consecrated bells, relics, readings of holy texts and even torture. Fortunately for all concerned, reason emerged from the darkness of time and over the forthcoming centuries the doctrine of the Middle Ages was seriously challenged and progressively abandoned, the antique knowledge came back to light and breakthroughs were achieved with the study of anatomy, which started flourishing in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.