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Our work on human rights in humanitarian action

OHCHR and protecting human rights in humanitarian crises

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OHCHR and protecting human rights in humanitarian crises

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OHCHR and protecting human rights in humanitarian crises

OHCHR mainstreams a human rights-based approach to humanitarian action with a view to securing the participation of the affected population in preparedness, response and recovery efforts. This empowers people to claim their rights and strengthens the capacities and accountability of duty-bearers to meet their legal obligations under international human rights and humanitarian laws. 

OHCHR focuses on marginalized categories of people that may have been left behind in the crisis, to raise awareness on their particular situation and needs and ensure that they are included in the different stages of humanitarian action. Placing people’s concerns at the heart of humanitarian action is critical to support principled action, ensure access for all to assistance and protection, address violations and enhance accountability.

OHCHR engages at both field and global levels on human rights in humanitarian action. OHCHR is present in most of the conflict theatres where the inter-agency system is collectively addressing crisis and deploys surge capacity in case of sudden onset of crisis. The engagement includes participation and coordination to protection cluster, participation in the humanitarian planning cycle and allocation of humanitarian funds. 

OHCHR contributes to joint protection analysis, furthers the nexus by identifying the root causes of the conflict while ensuring that marginalized categories are not left behind. OHCHR advises senior humanitarian leadership and designs project proposals that will assist affected communities in a sustainable way.

At the global level, OHCHR participates at all levels of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and ensures that the voices of the affected communities are integrated in strategic, operational and policy approaches of the IASC. In particular, OHCHR is involved in operationalizing the policy on the centrality of protection, collective advocacy on climate change and counter-terrorism measures, localization, accountability to affected communities and furthering the nexus.

OHCHR is a member of both the Global Protection Cluster as well as the Global Health Cluster. The participation to the former stemmed from the office’s involvement in the COVID-19’s response and the recognition of the need of a human rights based approach to health. OHCHR is part of the Strategic Advisory Group of the Global Protection Cluster since 2017 and contributes to enhancing the human rights aspects in the protection response.