Human Rights New York: About the NY Office
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in New York (OHCHR-NY) works for the effective integration of human rights norms and standards in the decision-making and operational activities of inter-governmental and inter-agency bodies based at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
OHCHR-NY is headed by an Assistant Secretary-General representing in New York the High Commissioner for Human Rights, who is based in Geneva.
The Assistant Secretary-General assists the High Commissioner in advancing the human rights agenda among policy-making bodies, permanent missions of Member States, United Nations departments and agencies, non-governmental organizations, professional groups and the media.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) with Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights
© UN photo
From 1948 to 1974, the Division for Human Rights in New York helped in developing declarations and conventions that laid the foundation of the international human rights framework. In 1974, this Division moved to Geneva, leaving in New York a small liaison office that would last for more than two decades.
Following the establishment of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in 1993, the New York office gradually expanded in terms of remit, staffing and authority. It took on special responsibilities in areas such as rule of law, responsibility to protect, genocide prevention, women’s rights and gender, and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The creation of the post and appointment of an Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights in 2010 further expanded the responsibilities of OHCHR-NY and ensured that human rights are consistently taken into account in high-level discussions at the UN headquarters in New York.