United Nations Human Rights for Middle East and North Africa
About the Regional Office
Inspired by the Charter of the United Nations, international human rights treaties to promote and protect all human rights for all people, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) established its Regional Office in the Middle East and North Africa in 2002. The Regional Office currently covers 11 countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. OHCHR is implementing a technical cooperation programme in Saudi Arabia through a field presence based on a three-year agreement.
The Middle East and North Africa faces significant challenges, including situations of armed conflict, the rise of violent extremism and the counter-terrorism narrative affecting civil and political rights as well as deeply rooted discrimination against groups. The region is also affected by long-standing conflicts/disputes, such as the Israeli occupation of Arab territories. Violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Palestine, and Yemen have impacted heavily on the human rights situation in the region, affecting thereof countries covered by the Regional Office.
The Regional Office focuses on:
Monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation in the region and recommends an adequate action by OHCHR.
technical advice and support for increased compliance of laws, policies and institutions with international human rights standards in relation to economic and social rights.
- Providing advice to governments, rights-holders and others, to promote human rights-based approach to accountability, implementation and assessment of the
2030 Agenda, including by assessing the impact of laws, policies, programmes, national development plans, and practices on the
achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- Promoting transparent and inclusive processes for participation and consultation in the development of national and regional strategies to achieve the SDGs.
Over the next four years (2019-2022), the efforts of the Regional Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights-MENA Region will focus on the following strategic directives:
Advocate for ratifications of the core human rights instruments
Regular public reports that would include status of compliance of legislation with human rights obligations in the region
Engage with States to extend capacity building activities and technical assistance mainly in support of national human rights mechanisms and processes of protection (NHRIs, NMRF, NAP,etc…)
-Capacity building extended to NHRIs, NMRF and other mechanisms on how to interact with international mechanisms of protection and address protection and promotion of human rights
-Training courses and studies aiming at engaging with duty bearers on promotion and protection
Embark on legal and institutional reforms related to laws governing fundamental freedoms in line with international human rights obligations
-Cyber laws, information laws, assembly and associations’ laws studied in line with ICCPR and other norms
-Personal status laws, discriminatory laws reviewed in line with CEDAW and other relevant norms
-Discriminatory laws studied in line with international human rights norms, in particular in relation to migrants, gender, ethnic and religious groups among others.
Initiate proactively institutional reforms in line with international human rights obligations, while gender dimensions are recognized
Institutional reforms for security and justice sectors, with a stronger gender participation
Engage with civil society actors on capacity building activities and technical assistance mainly in support of preventive networks against reprisals with gender perspective considered
-Organizing meetings for the women human rights defenders network created in 2018
-Quarterly meetings for non-governmental organizations and NHRIs involving discussions on civil space and ESC rights
Conduct systematic and regular monitoring of the human rights situation in the region, in particular, the civic environment with a view to engaging with authorities re addressing violations or preventing recurrence
-Documenting and verifying cases in the database
-Regular public reports on the human rights situation that would include status of fundamental freedoms in the region
-Constructive dialogue with authorities to prevent, protect and address human rights violations.