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Working with the United Nations Human Rights Programme: A Handbook for Civil Society

“We must persevere in our efforts to make the Universal Declaration’s principles come to fruition for the different communities that we serve. It is my hope that this Handbook will be used to facilitate civil society actors’ understanding of and access to the United Nations human rights system. It is a modest but significant resource in our joint endeavour to make human rights, dignity and equality a universal reality.”

Navi Pillay United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

About the Handbook

Working with the United Nations Human Rights Programme: A Handbook for Civil Society is a new, user-friendly and authoritative publication on United Nations human rights bodies and mechanisms – explaining how they work and exploring the many important ways that civil society actors including NGOs can contribute to their work.

This publication is addressed to the civil society actors who, every day in every part of the world, contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights, and it ultimately aims at enabling more people to access and make claim to their human rights through effective use of United Nations human rights bodies and mechanisms.

The Handbook’s contents

The Handbook includes information on:

  • OHCHR’s mandate, role and activities
  • OHCHR’s fellowship and training programmes
  • OHCHR’s publications and resource materials
  • The Human Rights Treaty Bodies
  • The Human Rights Council
  • The Special Procedures
  • The Universal Periodic Review
  • How to submit complaints on alleged human rights violations; and
  • Funds and grants available to civil society.

The Handbook also includes best practice examples of civil society collaboration with OHCHR in the field and civil society contributions to the work of United Nations human rights bodies and mechanisms. Further, it lists key contacts at OHCHR.

The Handbook’s design

To make it easier for readers to access information, each Handbook chapter has been written in a way that allows it to stand independently from the rest of the Handbook. Chapters are generally divided into three sections, addressing:

  • What the body/mechanism is;
  • How it works; and
  • How civil society actors can access and work with it.

It is important to note that the Handbook is not a stand-alone or static guide. Where possible, references to the OHCHR website and other resources are provided to ensure that readers have access to current information. Readers are encouraged to use these supplementary resources.

Download the full publication (Adobe pdf format, 1.28 MB) in English, French, Russian, Spanish, Chinese or Arabic.

The full publication is also available in: Georgian, Nepali, and Persian.

Browse chapters

Language

Updates

Reference links

Introduction

A C E F R S

 

 

Chapter I - The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

A C E F R S

 

References

Chapter II - OHCHR fellowship and training programmes

A C E F R S

 

References

Chapter III - OHCHR publications and resource materials

A C E F R S

 

References

Chapter IV - Human Rights Treaty Bodies

A C E F R S

 E

References

Chapter V - Human Rights Council

A C E F R S

 

References

Chapter VI - Special Procedures

A C E F R S

 E

References

Chapter VII - Universal Periodic Review

A C E F R S

 

References

Chapter VIII - Submitting a complaint on an alleged human rights violation

A C E F R S

 

References

Chapter IX - Funds and grants

A C E F R S

 

References


How to receive hard copies

Small quantities of hard copies for specific information and training activities may be ordered from:

Publications and Information Desk
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
8-14 avenue de la Paix
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Phone: + 41 (0)22 928 92 24
Fax: + 41 (0)22 928 90 10
E-mail: publications@ohchr.org

Feedback

As a dynamic tool, the on-line version of this Handbook will be regularly updated. The OHCHR Civil Society Section therefore welcomes reader feedback. Please send your comments and suggestions to:

Civil Society Section
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
E-mail: civilsociety@ohchr.org