How we work with others
OHCHR represents the world's commitment to universal ideals of human dignity, and has been given a unique mandate by the international community to promote and protect human rights. To optimize its impact, OHCHR works closely in partnership with others, within and outside of the UN.
Civil Society including NGOs
OHCHR’s Civil Society Unit acts as an entry point for civil society actors wishing to contact the Office on matters relating to the promotion and protection of human rights.
The Civil Society Unit provides information and advice to civil society on a broad range of human rights issues and provides advice within OHCHR on policies and strategies to enhance cooperation for effective human rights protection and promotion; and develops tools to assist civil society in engaging with the United Nations human rights bodies and mechanisms, of which the Handbook for Civil Society is the primary example.
This Handbook aims to provide civil society actors with a comprehensive and user-friendly guide to the work of OHCHR, including key information on human rights bodies and mechanisms and contact details, with a view to assisting civil society actors in identifying areas of possible cooperation with OHCHR.
National Human Rights Institutions
OHCHR accords priority to the establishment and strengthening of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) with due regard to the Principles relating to the status of national institutions (the Paris Principles; General Assembly resolution 48/134 of 20 December 1993, annex). At the request of Member States, tailored advice is provided to a growing number of countries on appropriate constitutional or legislative frameworks regarding the establishment of NHRIs; on the nature, functions, powers and responsibilities of NHRIs. Comparative analyses, technical cooperation needs assessments, project formulation and evaluation missions are also undertaken.
OHCHR has undertaken to strengthen the role of NHRIs at the country, regional and global levels, mainly through its National Institutions Unit (NIU), which works in consultation with the geographic units and field offices of OHCHR. OHCHR also acts as the secretariat of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC) and its Sub-Committee on Accreditation.
The United Nations system
OHCHR works closely with other United Nations agencies, fund and programs. By working with them in implementing activities, the Office tries to maximize its impact and make efficient use of its financial and human resources. Through training activities and expert advice provided by OHCHR in cooperation with other agencies, more and more UN Country Teams are integrating human rights into their common country programming and supporting national partners in their efforts to interact more effectively with UN human rights bodies. In addition to support provided to country and regional offices, OHCHR human rights advisors are instrumental in advising Resident Coordinators on policy and strategic issues, and in facilitating capacity building of UN Country Teams.
Peacekeeping and Peace Building Missions
Most UN Peace Missions with a civilian approach to their intervention have integrated human rights to their mandate. Human rights units in Peace Missions have two lines of reporting: one to the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations (SRSG), and the other to the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Human rights components have helped mainstream human rights in the larger work of peace missions which are now reporting more and more on human rights issues to the general public.
International human rights standards have traditionally been the responsibility of governments, aimed at regulating relations between the state and individuals/groups. In view of the increased role played by corporate actors at both the national and international level, the United Nations human rights machinery is considering the scope of business' human rights responsibilities and exploring ways for corporate actors to be accountable for the impact of their activities on human rights. In 2007, OHCHR in collaboration with the UN Global Compact launched a Human Rights and Business Learning Tool to help company managers develop a better understanding of human rights and of Global Compact principles related to human rights.
OHCHR works with other entities like the World Bank in the context of the Justice and Human Rights Fund intended to support the integration of human rights considerations into analytical and operational work of the World Bank in relation to poverty reduction.