How we work with others

Governments have the main responsibility to protect human rights, but it takes collective efforts to make progress in realising those rights for everyone.

  • UN Human Rights supports Governments in implementing the international human rights standards they have agreed to.
  • We also support civil society actors and National Human Rights Institutions, who play a vital role in the human rights movement worldwide.
  • Finally, we seek to broaden the constituency for human rights worldwide. We engage with everyone -- from businesses to religious instances to local governments -- to play their part in upholding and furthering human rights in everyday life. And we campaign widely so that individuals from all walks of life stand up for human rights.

Member States

Governments bear the primary responsibility for protecting the human rights of people living within their countries. UN Human Rights assists them in meeting their obligations.

Governments as duty-bearers can cooperate with the different parts of the UN human rights system and become better equipped to address chronic and emerging human rights issues. More on how Governments can participate in UN Human Rights.

National Human Rights Institutions

National human rights institutions (NHRIs) are State-funded bodies with a mandate to protect and promote human rights. They serve as a link between Government and civil society, helping bridge the 'protection gap' between the rights of individuals and the responsibilities of the State.

UN Human Rights provides useful resources for human rights commissions, human rights ombudsman institutions, hybrid institutions, consultative and advisory bodies, institutes and centres, and multiple institutions.

UN Human Rights supports NHRIs, Regional Human Rights Mechanisms, as well as the Global Association of NHRIs (GANHRI).

Other UN and Intergovernmental organizations

UN Human Rights works with a wide range of international organizations, including International Labour Organization, the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, UNICEF, UNESCO, the International Criminal Court, specialized criminal tribunals, such as the ones for former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda, established by the Security Council, and the World Bank in their efforts to promote and protect human rights. We also work with intergovernmental organizations such as the European Commission and the International Office of the Francophonie.

Civil Society including NGOs

Civil society organizations are a vital part of the human rights movement. They defend victims, promote human rights through education, and campaign for improvements. Civil society actors and NGOs increasingly work with human rights treaty bodies and the UN Human Rights Council.

UN Human Rights works closely with civil society actors to build their knowledge of human rights and promote their participation in UN decision-making processes. We produce practical guides for civil society organizations so they can discover how to work with the UN human rights system and how to access funding.

UN Human Rights Resources for civil society and NGOs.

Business

Business is increasingly recognising the importance of human rights. Executives now are aware that what their companies do – or fail to do – affects those rights.  UN Human Rights develops guidance and training related to the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; and works to enhance accountability and access to remedy in cases of business involvement in serious human rights abuse.

UN Human Rights can help businesses be more human rights compliant.

Educators

Human rights education is essential to the long-term prevention of human rights abuses. It represents an important investment in the endeavour to achieve a just society in which all human rights of all persons are valued and respected.

UN Human Rights provides a wide range of resources to support the work of human rights educators in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. These include databases, training materials, publications, and videos.

Access UN Human Rights resources for educators.

Donors

Every year, UN Human Rights depends on contributions from a wide variety of donors - such as Member States, foundations, the corporate sector and individuals - to carry out its programmes. These voluntary contributions represent 60 per cent of the Office's budget.

Learn more about the Office's funding needs, trends and latest donors.

Even individuals can make a contribution to the UN human rights programme. No donation is too small to make a difference for human rights.

Media

From highlighting human rights violations to reporting on best practices, journalists who cover the work of the UN human rights system play a major role in the human rights movement.

The UN Human Rights Media Centre allows journalists to find all news releases, media advisories about upcoming events, speeches by UN Human Rights officials and independent experts, and other resources. 

UN Human Rights is also part of a UN initiative to strengthen the safety of journalists worldwide.

Job seekers

Human Rights, Peace and Security, and Development are the three pillars of the United Nations as a whole. Strong of a multi-cultural workforce of 1,320 staff, UN Human Rights has 72 presences around the world.

View postings on current vacancies at UN Human Rights headquarters in Geneva and on the ground, as well as internship opportunities.

Broadening the constituency

Connecting with Local Governments: The role of local governments to prevent disparities, inequalities and promote and protect human rights is now becoming more critical than ever. Their actions are crucial to maintain civic space and freedom of expression, to ensure access to basic services and to improve urban planning.

UN Human Rights is working with local governments so they can uphold and further human rights.

Reflecting with religious leaders: The UN Human Rights 'Faith for Rights" framework provides space for a cross-disciplinary reflection on the deep, and mutually enriching, connections between religions and human rights. Individual and communal expression of religions or beliefs thrive and flourish in environments where human rights are protected.

Learn more about the UN Human Rights 'Faith for Rights' initiative

Campaigning to support human rights movements:  The UN Human Rights upholds values that are the roots of peace and inclusion. We advocate practical solutions to fear and injustice, so governments protect the rights of all their people in line with international law. We monitor their policies and call them out if they fall short. We stand for greater freedoms. Stronger respect. More compassion.

Join us. Help break the toxic patterns of a fearful world and embark on a more peaceful, more sustainable future. We don't have to stand by while the haters drive wedges of hostility between communities – we can build bridges. Wherever we are, we can make a real difference. In the street, in school, at work, in public transport; in the voting booth, on social media, at home and on the sports field.

It starts with each of us. Stand up for human rights.