Every day in every part of the world, civil society contributes to the promotion, protection and advancement of human rights.
Whatever they call themselves -- human rights defenders, human rights NGOs, bar associations, student clubs, trade unions, university institutes, bloggers, environmental rights activists, or charities working with discriminated groups – countless civil society actors work for a better future and share the common goals of justice, equality, and human dignity.
OHCHR's cooperation with civil society remains a
strategic priority because it bolsters our shared objectives, reinforces partnerships, and supports the Office’s human rights mission and initiatives.
OHCHR is dedicated to building knowledge and skills about international human rights among civil society actors. It also seeks to promote civil society participation in both UN decision-making processes and UN advocacy on civic space.
Working with the United Nations Human Rights Programme: A Handbook for Civil Society
|| This authoritative publication explains:
- how the various UN human rights bodies and mechanisms operate
- how civil society actors including NGOs can
benefit from the work of these mechanisms, and
- the opportunities for civil society to
contribute to the UN’s work
Download the handbook: The handbook is available in all six official UN languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian), as well as in Georgian, Nepali, Persian, Vietnamese.
Protecting Civic Space
A dynamic, diverse and independent civil society, able to operate freely, knowledgeable and skilled with regard to human rights, is a key element in securing sustainable human rights protection in all regions of the world.
One of OHCHR’s key tasks is strengthening the laws, policies and practices that apply to civic space. It also includes protecting people themselves – the human rights defenders and journalists who work to advance human rights. Though countries have the primary responsibility to protect civil society actors, OHCHR shares in the responsibility to support and protect them when their space, or they themselves, are at risk.
Read about UN Human Rights initiatives to protect civic space and enhance participation