The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) represents the world's commitment to universal ideals of human dignity. We have a unique mandate from the international community to promote and protect all human rights.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights is the principal human rights official of the United Nations. The High Commissioner heads OHCHR and spearheads the United Nations' human rights efforts. We offer leadership, work objectively, educate and take action to empower individuals and assist States in upholding human rights. We are a part of the United Nations Secretariat with our headquarters in Geneva.
We have an office at United Nations headquarters in New York and offices in numerous countries and regions. In addition to the Executive Office of the High Commissioner and a number of units that report to the Deputy High Commissioner, OHCHR has two major divisions and four branches.
To implement our comprehensive mandate, we employ more than 850 staff (last update in April 2007), based in Geneva and New York and in 11 country offices and seven regional offices around the world, including a workforce of some 240 international human rights officers serving in UN peace missions. We are funded from the United Nations regular budget and from voluntary contributions from Member States, intergovernmental organizations, foundations and individuals.
WHAT WE DO
As the principal United Nations office mandated to promote and protect human rights for all, OHCHR leads global human rights efforts speaks out objectively in the face of human rights violations worldwide. We provide a forum for identifying, highlighting and developing responses to today's human rights challenges, and act as the principal focal point of human rights research, education, public information, and advocacy activities in the United Nations system.
Since Governments have the primary responsibility to protect human rights, the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) provides assistance to Governments, such as expertise and technical trainings in the areas of administration of justice, legislative reform, and electoral process, to help implement international human rights standards on the ground. We also assist other entities with responsibility to protect human rights to fulfil their obligations and individuals to realize their rights.
Mainstreaming human rights
Since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945, promoting and encouraging respect for human rights for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion, as stipulated in the United Nations Charter, has been one of the fundamental goals of the organization. We are tasked with mainstreaming human rights within the United Nations, which means injecting a human rights perspective into all United Nations programmes. This is to ensure that peace and security, development, and human rights -- the three essential pillars of the United Nations system -- are interlinked and mutually reinforcing.
With our leading human rights role and the important task of mainstreaming human rights into the United Nations system, we work with Governments, civil society, national human rights institutions and other United Nations entities and international organizations, such as the International Labour Organization, the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Children's Fund, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the International Criminal Court, specialized criminal tribunals, such as the ones for former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda, established by the Security Council, and the World Bank in their efforts to promote and protect human rights.
Standard-setting and monitoring
Our method of work focuses on three major dimensions: standard-setting, monitoring, and implementation on the ground. We work to offer the best expertise, and substantive and secretariat support to the different United Nations human rights bodies as they discharge their standard-setting and monitoring duties. OHCHR, for example, serves as the Secretariat of the Human Rights Council. The Council, consisting of State representatives, is the key United Nations intergovernmental body responsible for human rights.
Implementation on the ground
We work to ensure the implementation of international human rights standards on the ground through greater country engagement and its field presences. Over the years, OHCHR has also increased its presence in the field, reaching out to the people who need it the most. Our field offices and presences play an essential role in identifying, highlighting, and developing responses to human rights challenges, in close collaboration with governments, the United Nations system, non-governmental organizations, and members of civil society. Among these responses are monitoring human rights situations on the ground and implementing projects, such as technical trainings and support in the areas of administration of justice, legislative reform, human rights treaty ratification, and human rights education, designed in cooperation with member States.
Where is United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)