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Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Press briefing notes on funding


27 February 2018

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Liz Throssell 
Location: Geneva 
Date: 27 February 2018

Norway has pledged to increase its funding for the UN Human Rights Office, giving us up to 150m Norwegian krone – that’s some USD 18m dollars – a year over four years. This increased contribution is all the more valuable at a time when the human rights situation around the world, as signalled by the High Commissioner in his speech to the Human Rights Council on Monday, is bleak.

Norway has long been one of our strongest supporters and its commitment to increase its annual donation is, of course, most welcome. In fact, there is impressive support for human rights from Scandinavia. Denmark is doubling its funding for 2018 from some USD 5m to USD 10m, and in 2017, Sweden was our second biggest donor with some USD16m.

This commitment comes in the context of a global pushback on human rights. Last year, we received a record USD142.8m in voluntary contributions, which was good news, but we still fell short of the funds we needed to respond to all requests for assistance.

We have just launched our appeal for extra-budgetary funding for 2018 – with our most ambitious target yet, amounting to USD278.3m.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70 this year, and we are using the anniversary to appeal to all UN Member States for voluntary contributions, so we can widen our funding base from the current 63 countries. This is essential not only to fund our work but to show the true breadth and diversity of international support for human rights.

Later this year, the UN Human Rights Office will launch its programme of work for the next four years. The aim is to build support across the world, by Governments and other actors, for human rights, to help prevent violence, to expand civic space – in essence, to help us address the many challenges of our time from a human rights perspective.

We therefore hope there will be widespread and sustained support to enhance the predictability and flexibility of our resources, and allow us to stand up for the human rights of everyone, everywhere.

If you want to see how much individual States gave to the UN Human Rights Office in 2017, please see:


For media requests, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / [email protected]) or Liz Throssell (+41 22 917 9466 / [email protected]) or Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169 / [email protected]).

This year, 2018, is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70thanniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human

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