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The UN Human Rights Office in Humanitarian Action


15 May 2016


Humanitarian crisis and emergencies

Humanitarian crises around the world, either caused by conflicts or natural disasters, almost invariably result in or exacerbate human rights concerns. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is a unique actor in humanitarian action: we bring a holistic perspective and analysis that contributes to enhancing the response by including all individuals affected, without discrimination.

Our work brings us close to all affected persons and helps us identifying and understanding their vulnerabilities and relevant threats. We endeavour to ensure that affected populations – including the most vulnerable and excluded – can fully and meaningfully participate in making decisions, as active agents and rights-holders – not as needy and passive beneficiaries.

Our work is based on international human rights law and international humanitarian law, which when used together prevent protection gaps that arise when only one body of law is applied. Our legal analysis on the ground, through a human rights lens, produces information that is verified, impartial, timely, and that can save lives.

Through human rights work, we look at the root causes of conflict and social inequalities; we help bridge the divide between humanitarian action, development and peace and security; and ultimately, we contribute to lasting peace and greater security for everyone.