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The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in New York works for the effective integration of human rights norms and standards in the decision-making and operational activities of inter-governmental and inter-agency bodies based at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The Office assists the High Commissioner in advancing the human rights agenda among policy-making bodies, permanent missions of Member States, United Nations departments and agencies, non-governmental organizations, professional groups, and the media

The New York Office is led by the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, representing the High Commissioner for Human Rights in New York, and includes a Director and some 60 human rights staff, working with all aspects of the UN agenda in New York.


From 1948 to 1974, the Division for Human Rights in New York helped develop the declarations and conventions that laid the foundation of the international human rights framework. In 1974, this Division moved to Geneva, leaving a small, permanent liaison office in New York, which continued to operate after the Division was succeeded by the UN Centre for Human Rights in 1982.

Following the establishment of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in 1993, the office in New York gradually expanded in its remit, staffing and authority. From 1993 to 2010, it supplemented its long-standing work in integrating human rights in the fields of development, peace and security, economic and social affairs, and humanitarian affairs, taking on additional responsibilities in areas such as democracy, rule of law, women’s rights and gender, and discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The creation of the post and appointment of an Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights in 2010 further expanded the responsibilities of the New York Office and helped ensure that human rights are more consistently taken into account in high-level discussions at UN headquarters in New York.