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UN Human Rights: Our organization

UN Human Rights is part of the United Nations Secretariat, with a staff of some 1300 people and its headquarters in Geneva, as well as an office in New York. It has field presences that comprise regional and country/stand-alone offices. Furthermore, UN Human Rights supports the human rights components of UN peace missions or political offices and deploys human rights advisers to work with the United Nations Country teams.

The Geneva-based headquarters has three substantive divisions:

  • Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division (TESPRDD), which develops policy and provides guidance, tools, advice and capacity-strengthening support on thematic human rights issues, including for human rights mainstreaming purposes. It also provides support to the Human Rights Council's special procedures.
  • Human Rights Council and Treaty Mechanisms Division (CTMD), which provides substantive and technical support to the Human Rights Council (HRC), the Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism, and the human rights treaty bodies.
  • Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division (FOTCD), which is responsible for overseeing and implementing the Office's work in the field.

Dedicated services and sections, which report directly to the Deputy High Commissioner, handle core management, planning, coordination and outreach functions. 

Integrating Human Rights throughout the UN in New York

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in New York (OHCHR-NY) 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 Assistant Secretary-General 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 High Commissioner for Human Rights is the principal human rights official of the United Nations. The High Commissioner heads OHCHR and spearheads the United Nations' human rights efforts.

OHCHR-NY is headed by an Assistant Secretary-General representing in New York the High Commissioner for Human Rights.