Useful Information

OHCHR Human Rights
Programme for Asia-Pacific

Country Mandates Established
by the CHR/HRC

Standing invitations to Special Procedures

Regional Members of the Human Rights Council:

Afghanistan 2020

Australia 2020

Bangladesh 2021

China 2019

Fiji 2021

India 2021

Japan 2019

Nepal 2020

Pakistan 2020

Philippines 2021

Voluntary Pledges and Commitments


UN Human Rights Report 2018 UN Human Rights Report 2018
OHCHR Management Plan 2018-2021 OHCHR Management Plan 2018-2021
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 - South and West Asia Regional Office (2008-2009)

Human rights context

The Regional Office will cover countries in the South and West Asia region, including: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

The South and West Asia subregion hosts a diverse set of human rights opportunities and challenges. Countries like Afghanistan and Nepal are in the midst of post-conflict transitions but face significant problems of insecurity, exclusion and lack of transitional justice. Democratic institutions and the rule of law are on the brink of reform in Bangladesh and the Maldives. Conflicts persist in several countries, including Afghanistan, regions of India and Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, with resulting human rights violations and displacement.

Well-established legal systems exist, but implementation and enforcement of the law is weak, and impunity is still a problem. The barriers against accessing the justice system are formidable for many people, reflecting the impact of social and religious traditions on women and other groups. Poverty is at the root of many human rights violations and contributes to specific problems, such as child exploitation and human trafficking. Throughout the region, there are thriving and active civil societies and media actors playing an important role in human rights and other social issues.



The Office will focus its work on the priority themes selected for the region, particularly the need to strengthen national institutions and combat discrimination. South Asian countries have well-established legal systems and normative frameworks to protect human rights, but gaps in capacity, security and commitment limit implementation. In India, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, national institutions play an important role, and there are prospects for new institutions to emerge in other countries in the subregion. There are also many specialized commissions throughout the region that focus on the rights of women, children, castes and minorities.

To initiate closer engagement with countries of the subregion, the Regional Office will, in its initial phase, focus on establishing bilateral cooperation with countries in which OHCHR has no presence: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and the Isalamic Republic of Iran. As part of its development phase, the Office will identify relevant thematic priorities in consultation with Member States, national human rights institutions, civil society actors and UN Country Teams.

The South and West Asia Office will also be ideally placed to initiate discussions on the possible establishment of a regional human rights mechanism for Asia and the Pacific. In this context, it will consult closely with regional actors, particularly SAARC, on possible avenues for cooperation in the field of human rights. SAARC has already adopted a Social Charter and specialized conventions on trafficking, and women and children. Other opportunities may arise in connection with the development of a new subregional human rights mechanism by ASEAN. The Office will also raise awareness about issues of common concern by releasing thematic reports and statements.

OHCHR will build partnerships to develop activities and programmes to address regional human rights challenges with other UN agencies, UN Country Teams, national institutions and regional organizations. It will encourage sharing experiences and best practices in the area of human rights, particularly regarding impunity, weak institutions and discrimination.

The Office will promote greater engagement with special procedures through referral of individual complaints and mandate-holder visits. It will advocate for treaty ratification, reporting and follow-up, and will assist Member States, national human rights institutions, civil society and UN Country Teams in their preparations for the Universal Periodic Review.

Contact Information


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

Asia Pacific Section
Tel. +41 22 928 9650

Regional Offices/Centres

Officer in charge
Tel: 679 3310 46565
Fax: 679 3310 485
Address: Level 5, Kadavu House, Victoria Parade, Suva, Fiji

South-East Asia
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Regional Office for South East Asia
6th Floor, United Nations Buidling, Rachadamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok 10200,
Tel. +66 2 288 1235,
Fax: +66 2 288 1039


UNDG-HRM Regional Human Rights Adviser
UNDG Asia and the Pacific
UN Service Building, 3rd Floor, Room 326
Rajdamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok 10200 Thailand
Office: +66-2-304-9100 Ext. 5222
Skype: h.alefsen

Other OHCHR Offices

Sri Lanka
Timor Leste

Feature stories

Human rights meeting in the Asia-Pacific region

External links

International Criminal Court

Geneva Conventions

ILO Conventions

Refugee Conventions

National Institutions

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