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Who we are

High Commissioner for Human RightsThe Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) represents the world's commitment to universal ideals of human dignity. We have a unique mandate from the international community to promote and protect all human rights.

Leadership

The High Commissioner for Human Rights is the principal human rights official of the United Nations.

The High Commissioner heads OHCHR and spearheads the United Nations' human rights efforts. We offer leadership, work objectively, educate and take action to empower individuals and assist States in upholding human rights.

We are a part of the United Nations Secretariat with our headquarters in Geneva.

The Office's priorities, expected accomplishments and strategies are set out in the OHCHR Management Plan 2014-2017.

OHCHR’s thematic priorities are strengthening international human rights mechanisms; enhancing equality and countering discrimination; combating impunity and strengthening accountability and the rule of law; integrating human rights in development and in the economic sphere; widening the democratic space; and early warning and protection of human rights in situations of conflict, violence and insecurity.

United Nations human rights system

We also support the work of the United Nations human rights mechanisms, such as the Human Rights Council and the core treaty bodies set up for monitoring State Parties' compliance with international human rights treaties, promote the right to development, coordinate United Nations human rights education and public information activities, and strengthens human rights across the United Nations system. We work to ensure the enforcement of universally recognized human rights norms, including through promoting both the universal ratification and implementation of the major human rights treaties and respect for the rule of law.

Our structure

We have an office at United Nations headquarters in New York and offices in numerous countries and regions (OHCHR organizational chart). In addition to the Executive Office of the High Commissioner and a number of units that report to the Deputy High Commissioner, OHCHR has four major divisions:

  • The Research and Right to Development Division (RRDD) is responsible for thematic research and policy development, human rights mainstreaming across all work areas of the United Nations system, development of tools and learning packages and provision of expertise to a variety of stakeholders on a wide range of human rights themes.
  • The Human Rights Treaties Division (HRTD) is responsible for supporting the work of the 10 human rights treaty bodies that are mandated to monitor national-level implementation of international human rights treaties.
  • The Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division (FOTCD) supports the work of human rights field presences and leads OHCHR engagement with countries on human rights issues.
  • The Human Rights Council and Special Procedures Division (HRCSPD) provides substantive and organizational support to the Human Rights Council, its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism, special procedures and other subsidiary bodies.

Dedicated sections of Executive Direction and Management are responsible for core administrative, programming, coordination and outreach functions, including in relation to civil society.

The New York Office (NYO) of OHCHR represents the High Commissioner in New York and works for the effective integration of human rights standards into the work of the New York-based organs and agencies, policy development processes and public information initiatives.

To implement our comprehensive mandate, we employ 1085 staff (as of 31 December 2013) based in Geneva, New York and in 13 country offices and 13 regional offices or centres around the world, as well as a workforce of 689 international human rights officers serving in UN peace missions or political offices. We are funded from the United Nations regular budget and from voluntary contributions from Member States, intergovernmental organizations, foundations and individuals.