Useful Information

OHCHR Human Rights Programme for the Middle East and Northern Africa Region

Country Mandates Established
by the CHR/HRC

Standing invitations to Special Procedures

Regional Members of the Human Rights Council:

Egypt 2019
Iraq 2019
Qatar 2020
Saudi Arabia 2019
Tunisia 2019
United Arab Emirates 2018

Voluntary Pledges and Commitments


OHCHR report 2016 OHCHR Report 2016
OHCHR Management Plan 2014-2017 OHCHR Management Plan 2014-2017
Brochure: Human Rights in action Human Rights in Action (PDF)
Working with the United Nations Human Rights Programme: A Handbook for Civil Society A Handbook for Civil Society (PDF)

OHCHR Human Rights Programme for the Middle East and Northern Africa Region (2006-2007)

Situation Analysis: In recent years, many Arab States have taken positive steps towards political, legal, economic, and social reform. These measures include holding multi-party legislative and municipal elections, establishing national human rights institutions, facilitating the work of NGOs, respecting the right of freedom of expression, and improving the status of women.

Despite these improvements, obstacles to the full realization of human rights remain, including: armed conflict, impunity, limits on women’s and migrant rights, limits on freedom of expression and association, a lack of protection for human rights defenders, and the imposition of emergency laws. Although a number of national institutions have been established, the continued absence of democratic structures is an obstacle to the growth and empowerment of the civil society across the region.

Almost all Arab countries are parties to the core human rights treaties and some of the optional protocols. However, reporting on how the treaties are implemented and follow-up on recommendations made by the treaty bodies remains insufficient.

Regional Priorities and Strategy: OHCHR will focus on: encouraging the ratification and implementation of human rights treaties, and reporting on how these obligations are fulfilled; reinforcing the administration of justice and the rule of law; and increasing women’s access to justice.

In an effort to close the capacity gap, the Office will help to develop and implement national human rights action plans; support human rights education, gender mainstreaming, and the empowerment of women throughout the region, and assist in the creation of national human rights institutions that conform to the Paris Principles. To bridge the commitment gap, the Office will encourage governments to engage in democratic and institutional reform in cooperation with United Nations agencies and civil society. To help close the security gap, OHCHR will monitor the human rights situation in Iraq. OHCHR Palestine will focus attention on the situation of human rights defenders, disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture, and the death penalty.

The priority thematic areas for OHCHR’s work in the Middle East and Northern Africa Region include law enforcement, emergency laws, impunity, migrants’ rights, trafficking in persons, women’s rights, the Millennium Development Goals, protecting human rights defenders, the impact of counterterrorism measures, disappearances, and the application of the death penalty.

In order to implement the strategy effectively, OHCHR plans to reinforce the Middle East Regional Office and the Palestine office, and will open a Regional Office for Northern African States in Cairo. A United Nations Regional Centre for Documentation and Training in the Middle East and Northern Africa Region and Southwest Asia will be established in Qatar.

In the Middle East and Northern Africa Region, OHCHR’s field deployment is projected as follows:




To be established

Regional Offices Middle East (Beirut)   North Africa
Regional HR Centres     Middle East and Northern Africa Region and Southweat Asia (Qatar)
Country Offices   Palestine
UN Peace Missions Iraq    

Contact Information


Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division (FOTCD)
Contact is in Geneva, Switzerland.

Middle East and North Africa Section
Tel. +41 22 928 9153

Regional Offices/Centres

Middle East
(Beirut, Lebanon)
OHCHR Middle East Regional Office
Arab African International Bank Building
Banks Street, Downtown
Beirut, Lebanon
P.O.Box: 11-3216
Tel: 00 961 1 962 542
Fax: 00 961 1 962 555

North Africa
(Temporary in Beirut, Lebanon)
Arab African International Bank Building
Banks Street, Downtown
Beirut, Lebanon
P.O.Box: 11-3216
Tel: 00 961 1 962 542
Fax: 00 961 1 962 555

Centre for South-West Asia and the Arab Region
(Doha, Qatar)
P.O. Box 23514, Doha – Qatar
Tel: +974 44932544 – 44935791
Fax: +974 44935790

Other OHCHR Offices

Palestine (Occupied territories)
Saudi Arabia (Technical cooperation project)


United Nations Country Teams in Middle East and Northern Africa Region

Other UN links

Security Council resolutions

Secretary-General reports to the Security Council

External links

International Criminal Court

Geneva Conventions

ILO Conventions

Refugee Conventions

Note: OHCHR is not responsible for the content of external links.