Source description last updated: 13 December 2019

In brief: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is a department of the Secretariat of the United Nations, mandated to promote and protect human rights and to prevent human rights violations.

Coverage on

Press Releases by Special Rapporteurs and Experts for countries of priorities A-C, reports on the human rights situation in Ukraine.
Covered weekly on

Common Core Documents for countries of priorities A-D.
Covered quarterly on


“The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is mandated to promote and protect the enjoyment and full realization, by all people, of all rights established in the Charter of the United Nations and in international human rights laws and treaties. OHCHR is guided in its work by the mandate provided by the General Assembly in resolution 48/141, the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent human rights instruments, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights, and the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document.

The mandate includes preventing human rights violations, securing respect for all human rights, promoting international cooperation to protect human rights, coordinating related activities throughout the United Nations, and strengthening and streamlining the United Nations system in the field of human rights. In addition to its mandated responsibilities, the Office leads efforts to integrate a human rights approach within all work carried out by United Nations agencies.” (OHCHR Website, Who We Are, undated)


“The global funding needs of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) are covered by the United Nations regular budget at a rate of approximately 40 per cent. The remainder is covered by voluntary contributions from Member States and other donors.” (OHCHR Website, OHCHR’s Funding and Budget, undated)

Scope of reporting:

Geographic focus: Worldwide; field presences through country offices, regional offices, peace missions and human rights advisers

Thematic focus: Human rights issues, e.g. civil and political rights, freedom of religion, health, internal displacement, trafficking in persons, etc. (OHCHR Website, List of Human Rights Issues, undated)


“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.

We also support the work of special prodecures [sic!] –including special rapporteurs, independent experts, and working groups-- appointed by the Council to monitor human rights in different countries or in relation to specific issues. We assist these independent experts as they carry out visits to the field, receive and consider direct complaints from victims of human rights violations, and appeal to governments on behalf of victims. Another example of the standard-setting and monitoring dimensions of our work is the legal research and secretariat support it provides to the core human rights treaty bodies. These committees of independent experts are mandated to monitor State parties' compliance with their treaty obligations. They meet regularly to examine reports from State parties and issue their recommendations.” (OHCHR Website, What we do, undated)

Languages of publications:

Website in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Chinese; not all publications available in all of these languages

Further reading / links:

OHCHR in the World: making human rights a reality on the ground, undated

All links accessed 13 December 2019.