Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

The mission of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is to work for the protection of all human rights for all people; to help empower people to realize their rights; and to assist those responsible for upholding such rights in ensuring that they are implemented. In carrying out its mission OHCHR will: Give priority to addressing the most pressing human rights violations, both acute and chronic, particularly those that put life in imminent peril; Focus attention on those who are at risk and vulnerable on multiple fronts; Pay equal attention to the realization of civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights, including the right to development; and Measure the impact of its work through the substantive benefit that is accrued, through it, to individuals around the world. OHCHR, a department of the United Nations Secretariat, is guided in its work by the mandate provided by the General Assembly in resolution 48/141, the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent human rights instruments, the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, and the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document. Operationally, OHCHR works with governments, legislatures, courts, national institutions, civil society, regional and international organizations, and the United Nations system to develop and strengthen capacity, particularly at the national level, for the protection of human rights in accordance with international norms. Institutionally, OHCHR is committed to strengthening the United Nations human rights programme and to providing it with the highest quality support. OHCHR is committed to working closely with its United Nations partners to ensure that human rights form the bedrock of the work of the United Nations.

Mandate: The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), a department of the United Nations Secretariat, is mandated to promote and protect the enjoyment and full realization, by all people, of all rights established in the Charter of the United Nations and in international human rights laws and treaties. The mandate includes preventing human rights violations, securing respect for all human rights, promoting international cooperation to protect human rights, coordinating related activities throughout the United Nations, and strengthening and streamlining the United Nations system in the field of human rights. In addition to its mandated responsibilities, the Office leads efforts to integrate a human rights approach within all work carried out by United Nations agencies. OHCHR's priorities are set out in its Strategic Management Plan 2006-2007 and follow the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action of the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights, and the Charter of the United Nations.

  • Civil Society
  • Corrections
  • Defence Institutions
  • Development of a Constitution
  • Elections
  • Gender
  • Human Rights
  • Judicial and Legal Reform
  • Law Enforcement Institutions
  • Media
  • Transitional Justice

Human Rights

Engaging directly with countries to increase awareness of human rights principles, inject technical expertise and build institutional capacity.
  • Capacity and development training
  • Policy advice
  • Research and policy development
  • Technical assistance
Description of activities

Transitional Justice

Civil Society

  • Africa
    • Central Africa
      • Angola
      • Cameroon
      • Democratic Republic of the Congo
      • Central African Republic
    • Eastern Africa
      • Sudan
      • Rwanda
      • Somalia
      • Zimbabwe
      • Uganda
      • Burundi
      • Eritrea
      • Ethiopia
    • Southern Africa
      • South Africa
    • Western Africa
      • Senegal
      • Sierra Leone
      • Nigeria
      • Liberia
      • Togo
      • Cote d’Ivoire
      • Guinea-Bissau
  • Asia
    • Central Asia
      • Tajikistan
    • South Asia
      • Maldives
      • Nepal
      • Afghanistan
      • Pakistan
      • Sri Lanka
    • South East Asia
      • Cambodia
      • Indonesia
      • Philippines
      • Thailand
      • Timor-Leste
    • Western Asia
      • Occupied Palestinian Territory
      • Lebanon
      • Iraq
      • Georgia
  • Europe
    • Southern Europe
      • Serbia
      • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Oceania
  • Americas
    • Caribbean
      • Haiti
    • Central America
      • Panama
      • Guatemala
      • Nicaragua
    • North America
      • Mexico
    • South America
      • Bolivia
      • Colombia
      • Ecuador
      • Guyana
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais Wilson
Rue des Paquis 52
Geneva CH-1201
United Nations
Palais Wilson
Rue des Paquis 52
Geneva CH-1201

In addition to the Executive Office of the High Commissioner, OHCHR has two major divisions: the Operations, Programmes and Research Division, which includes the Capacity Building Branch and the Research and Right to Development Branch; and the Human Rights Procedures Division, which includes the Treaties and Council Branch and the Special Procedures Branch. OPERATIONS, PROGRAMMES AND RESEARCH DIVISION The Capacity Building and Field Operations Branch coordinates the development and implementation of OHCHR's country engagement strategies. Five geographic teams ensure country expertise and, among other things, manage the technical cooperation programme, support country special procedures, and serve as entry points for OHCHR’s offices in the field. In addition, the Branch has three support units with expertise on national human rights institutions, United Nations peace missions, and rapid response. Research and Development Branch The mandate of the Research and Right to Development Branch (RRDB) includes: support for the inter-governmental mechanisms on the promotion and protection of the right to development; research on the whole range of human rights issues of interest to United Nations human rights bodies in accordance with resolutions of policy-making bodies; substantive services to human rights organs engaged in standard-setting activities; policy analysis, advice and guidance on substantive procedures; and information and publications services of the human rights programme, including the library and enquiry services. HUMAN RIGHTS PROCEDURES DIVISION The Special Procedures Branch provides support to the thematic special procedures of the Commission on Human Rights, such as the special rapporteurs, special representatives, independent experts and working groups. The Branch facilitates the work of special procedures mandate-holders by collaborating with all stakeholders and by providing thematic, fact-finding, and legal expertise, research and analysis, and administrative and logistical support for their work. The Treaties and Council Branch ensures the smooth functioning of the machinery that underpins the Office’s work, particularly the intergovernmental bodies concerned with human rights and six of the seven treaty bodies that monitor implementation of the core human rights instruments. It also supports activities carried out through the Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture. In addition, the Branch coordinates all official documentation prepared by OHCHR for use by the intergovernmental bodies and, in close cooperation with UNICEF and WHO, provides substantive and administrative support to the Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children.

Navanethem Pillay
High Commissioner for Human Rights
Imma Guerras