Resources for NGOs, human rights defenders, and other actors in civic space
Every day in every part of the world, civil society contributes to the promotion, protection and advancement of human rights.
Whatever they call themselves -- human rights defenders, human rights NGOs, bar associations, student clubs, trade unions, university institutes, bloggers, environmental rights activists, or charities working with discriminated groups – countless civil society actors work for a better future and share the common goals of justice, equality, and human dignity.
OHCHR's cooperation with civil society remains a strategic priority because it bolsters our shared objectives, reinforces partnerships, and supports the Office’s human rights mission and initiatives.
OHCHR is dedicated to building knowledge and skills about international human rights among civil society actors. It also seeks to promote civil society participation in both UN decision-making processes and UN advocacy on civic space.
Working with the United Nations Human Rights Programme: A Handbook for Civil Society
This authoritative publication explains:
- how the various UN human rights bodies and mechanisms operate
- how civil society actors including NGOs can benefit from the work of these mechanisms, and
- the opportunities for civil society to contribute to the UN’s work
Download the handbook: The handbook is available in all six official UN languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian), as well as in Georgian, Nepali, Persian, Vietnamese.
Protecting Civic Space
A dynamic, diverse and independent civil society, able to operate freely, knowledgeable and skilled with regard to human rights, is a key element in securing sustainable human rights protection in all regions of the world.
One of OHCHR’s key tasks is strengthening the laws, policies and practices that apply to civic space. It also includes protecting people themselves – the human rights defenders and journalists who work to advance human rights. Though countries have the primary responsibility to protect civil society actors, OHCHR shares in the responsibility to support and protect them when their space, or they themselves, are at risk.Read about UN Human Rights initiatives to protect civic space and enhance participation.
Download OHCHR’s series of practical guides for civil society:
|Civil Society Space and the United Nations Human Rights System - A Practical Guide for Civil Society
How to Follow Up on United Nations Human Rights Recommendations - A Practical Guide for Civil Society
|United Nations Human Rights Council - A Practical Guide for NGO Participants
What you need to know about attending the Human Rights Council.
|Universal Periodic Review - A Practical Guide for Civil Society
What you need to know about attending the Universal Periodic Review Working Group.
|Social Forum of the Human Rights Council - A Practical Guide for Civil Society
What you need to know about attending the Social Forum.
|Human Rights Funds, Grants and Fellowships - A Practical Guide for Civil Society
What you need to know about training and funding opportunities for human rights.
Order your copies of guides and publications from [email protected]
Human Rights videos
What is it? Two Minute Introductory videos on human rights
[For subtitles in more than 15 languages, click on "cc" in the YouTube viewer.]
What is a Human Right?
An introduction to human rights, and the UN’s work to promote and protect human rights.
[Transcript in txt]
- Information for NGOs in Switzerland inviting participants to meetings in Switzerland
- Human Rights Instruments
- Human Rights by Country
- Special Procedures
- Human Rights Treaty bodies
- Human Rights Council
- Universal Periodic Review
- Universal Human Rights Index
- Human rights meetings and briefings
- About Funds and Grants