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The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' (OHCHR) Regional Office for Central Asia (ROCA) was established in 2008 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and currently covers all five countries in the region: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
In line with the mandate of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as set out in the General Assembly's Resolution 48/141 of 20 December 1993, ROCA will engage with Governments, intergovernmental organizations, civil society, the private sector as well as relevant United Nations partners, to formulate and implement programmes and activities for the promotion and protection of all human rights in the countries of Central Asia.
ROCA works with countries in the region to strengthen the capacity of national governments, national human right institutions, non-governmental organizations, human rights defenders and civil society activists to increase compliance of national laws and practices with human rights standards and improve protection against human rights violations, in particular violations relating to fundamental freedoms, non-discrimination, freedom from torture, the right to a fair trial and independence of judges and lawyers.
ROCA is based in Bishkek and a presence in Osh, Kyrgyzstan; in Dushanbe, Tajikistan; in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan; and Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Since its establishment in 2008, ROCA has positioned itself as a solid, trusted source of human rights expertise and has established close links with many actors in the region, in particular with civil society, National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), National Mechanisms for Reporting and Follow-Up (NMRFs) and the international community.
ROCA's thematic priorities for the current programming cycle 2018-2021 are: widening the democratic space, strengthening the capacity of NHRIs in line with the Paris Principles, strengthening the capacity of NMRFs, promoting the use of international human rights mechanisms and national engagement with them, building the capacity of national actors on compliance with principles of non-discrimination and equality, and combating impunity and strengthening accountability and the rule of law.
Across the region, ROCA undertook activities to strengthen the capacity of governments, NHRI, NMRFs, civil society, and the international community (including United Nations Country Team (UNCT)) to protect and promote human rights, focusing on priority areas listed above.
ROCA's engagement has contributed to the following human rights achievements:
Previous engagement has resulted in ROCA developing a comparative advantage for promoting and protecting human rights in Central Asia. ROCA's key added value lies in three main areas:
These elements highlight ROCA's comparative advantage and explain why the Office is best placed to further advance human rights in Central Asia, by playing an active role in promoting and protecting human rights.