Skip to main content

UN Human Rights in Europe


The Regional Office for Europe’s (ROE) primary function is to advance human rights in the European Union (EU) through technical assistance, advocacy, and reporting on human rights, based on the recommendations of UN human rights mechanisms. ROE works to address human rights gaps in EU legislation, budgeting and policy-making, seizing the impetus created by the Sustainable Development Agenda. In addition, ROE strives for the integration of a human rights-based approach in EU external action, migration policies and development cooperation. ROE further fulfils an outreach, liaison and good offices role between the UN Human Rights Office globally EU institutions.

Type of engagement Regional Office
Year established 2009
Field offices Brussels
Number of staff 7
Annual budget needs US$ 914,000



  • Together with the UN Team in Brussels, ROE contributed to enhance the visibility and knowledge of the Sustainable Development Agenda at EU level, including through the “Leave No One Behind” pledge for incoming Members of the European Parliament. In the face of the regional and global challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN Brussels Team and ROE work to influence the EU’s positioning in defense of multilateralism, international solidarity, and human rights.
  • ROE’s efforts to connect civil society and human rights defenders to the international human rights mechanisms contributed to the increased number of urgent actions sent by special procedures, submissions to treaty bodies and engagement with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). ROE’s promotion of the human rights mechanisms work, facilitating visits by special procedures to the EU institutions and Brussels media, also led to an increasing number of recommendations from these mechanisms finding their way into EU legislative and policy initiatives. Some recommendations from ROE’s publication “The case for a human rights approach to the rule of law in the EU” (May 2020) were taken on board by the European Commission.
  • The Regional Office offered a platform for Facebook and Twitter, EU institutions, and human rights defenders from around the EU to discuss online harassment and intimidation which led to continued engagement of the social media companies with human rights defenders in Europe. The Office also successfully incorporated social media in its public advocacy and launched human rights podcasting, in partnership with Spotify.
  • The EU’s Roma Framework post 2020, to which the Regional Office contributed, integrates OHCHR’s human rights indicators. In the European Parliament, the Regional Office facilitated the first ever dialogue between grassroot organizations, the European Commission, and members of the European Parliament on Truth and Reconciliation for Roma.
  • To support DEVCO’s efforts to integrate human rights in EU development cooperation, the Regional Office prepared a manual - “Making a Difference: An Introduction to Human Rights” – which has become a reference for EU delegations worldwide. ROE’s monthly newsletter “Keeping The Pulse of the EU” informs OHCHR staff globally of EU policies and programmes, making OHCHR’s engagement with EU delegations worldwide more effective and policy relevant.

Partners and Donors

Partners: EU institutions, EU Member States, UN agencies, regional organizations, national human rights institutions, equality bodies, and civil society organizations.

UN Human Rights Focus Areas

Thematic pillars

  • Mechanisms: Increasing implementation of the international human rights mechanisms outcomes
  • Development: Integrating human rights in sustainable development
  • Accountability: Strengthening rule of law and accountability for human rights violations
  • Non discrimination: Enhancing equality and countering discrimination
  • Participation: Enhancing & protecting civic space and people's participation
  • Peace and Security: Supporting early warning, prevention and protection of human rights in situations of conflict and insecurity


  • Prevention
  • Global constituency
  • Civic space
  • Inequalities
  • People on the move
  • Digital space & emerging technologies

Spotlight populations

  • Women
  • Young people
  • Persons with disabilities

OHCHR-EU Strategic Dialogue on Human Rights

Last reviewed: July 2020

Contact information

Regional office website