The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), guided by the mandate provided by General Assembly resolution 48/141, OHCHR represents the world’s commitment to the promotion, protection and realization of the full range of rights and freedoms set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
OHCHR has a central role in safeguarding the integrity of the three pillars of the United Nations: peace and security, human rights and development. For the four year period from 2018-2021, the Office has identified six thematic pillars, four major shifts, with person centered spotlighting particularly women, young people and persons living with disabilities. The six thematic pillars that
from the continued solid base on which the work of the Office stands include (1) Support to the United Nations human rights system; (2) Mainstreaming human rights within the United Nations other pillars, namely development and (3) peace and security; (4) Advancing the core human rights principles of non-discrimination, (5) accountability, (6) participation. The Four major ‘Shifts’ in OHCHR mandate focus on key threats to rights and key opportunities for leveraging support to better protect and promote rights. This means that across our six thematic pillars, OHCHR will also work to take steps to help prevent conflict, violence and insecurity; Help protect and expand civic space; Support and further develop a global constituency for human rights; Deliver human rights in the context of emerging concerns (‘frontier issues’).
All the six areas have a strong focus on women’s human rights and gender issues, including in line with OHCHR internal policies on gender equality and the Secretary General System Wide Strategy on Gender Parity.
Institutionally, OHCHR is committed to strengthening the United Nations human rights programme and to providing it with the highest quality support. OHCHR is committed to working closely with its United Nations partners to ensure that human rights are at the center of the work of the United Nations.
See gender-related resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly, Security Council and Human Rights Council, and relevant subsidiary bodies.
The mission of OHCHR is to work for the protection and promotion of all human rights for all people; to help empower people to realize their rights; and to assist those responsible for upholding such rights in ensuring that they are implemented. In carrying out its mission with respect to violence against women, and within the overarching strategies to ensure country engagement, leadership, partnership, and support and strengthening of the Office and the human rights machinery, OHCHR is focusing on:
*Gender sensitive administration of justice, through the provision of expert legal analysis of international (and, where appropriate, regional and national) jurisprudence with commentary, relating to the effective prosecution of gender-based violence as well as legal analysis of obligations in relation to social and economic rights and the impact of the enjoyment of such rights for women on access to justice for victims of sexual violence.
*Piloting of integrated and thematic gender strategies for country engagement, including on violence against women.
*Mainstreaming gender and women’s human rights in OHCHR and with UN system partners.
OHCHR is an active member of UN Action against sexual violence in conflict. Since August 2008, the Coordinator for UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict, previously based with UNIFEM in New York, is hosted on OHCHR premises in Geneva. Since 2009, OHCHR has chaired the Resource Management Committee of the UN-Action Multi-Donor Trust Fund.
Human rights monitoring and investigations, including in relation to sexual violence, are also key features of the field presences of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), particularly country offices and human rights components of UN peace operations.
Monitoring of the human rights situation, including advocacy and public reporting, is a fundamental tool for OHCHR to assess human rights problems, support the identification of adequate solutions, promote accountability and deter further violations. In particularly serious human rights violations including collective rape cases, the Office also conducts human rights investigations, by conducting detailed interviews with victims and witnesses, when possible visiting the location of the violations, and undertaking circumstantial analysis of facts, mapping of perpetrators to promote accountability through follow up with judiciary authorities.
OHCHR supportsthe Human Rights Council and its special procedures, including the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, the Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice, and the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children, as well as human rights treaty bodies, including the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
In its’ work, the Committee on the Elimination on the Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) urges States parties to give priority attention to eliminating all forms of violence against women and to adopt comprehensive measures to address it in accordance with the Committee’s general recommendation No. 35.
The OHCHR Regional Office for Central America provided in El Salvador technical advice to the Salvadorian Institute for the Advancement of Women (Instituto Salvadoreño para el desarrollo de la Mujer, ISDEMU), the Prosecutors’ Office and the Parliamentary Group on a new legislative act on the elimination of violence against women, which was adopted on November 25th 2010.Hide
OHCHR supported the formulation and implementation of laws on violence against women in accordance with international human rights standards, including in Iraq and in Panama, where the law also established the specific crime of femicide (2013). In Afghanistan, it released a report on 8 December entitled A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan, in which it reported limited results in its implementation.Hide
OHCHR’s country offices in Bolivia, Colombia, Russia and Uganda were part of UN Inter-Agency Groups working on gender issues in support of national and local authorities, the judiciary and civil society to develop legal frameworks, on combating sexual and gender-based violence. OHCHR’s country office in Guatemala assisted State institutions and, in coordination with the Interagency Group on Women’s Rights, provided technical advice to State officials to reform the law to prevent domestic violence. In Sudan, OHCHR worked with the human rights component of UNMIS to propose amendments to existing rape laws. In the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), OHCHR participated in a special session of the legal Working Group of the Palestinian Legislative Council during which a draft decree-law against honour killings was discussed and was subsequently approved.Hide
OHCHR advised states on reforming laws and supported the formulation and implementation of laws to ensure compliance with international human rights standards. In 2015, OHCHR supported the elaboration and implementation of laws on sexual violence View More
OHCHR advised states on reforming laws and supported the formulation and implementation of laws to ensure compliance with international human rights standards. In 2015, OHCHR supported the elaboration and implementation of laws on sexual violence (in Afghanistan, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Nigeria), promoting victims’ and witnesses’ participation in peace processes and reconciliation (in Sudan, Darfur and the Central African Republic), and assisting victims of sexual violence (in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, Sudan, Tunisia). In Moldova, OHCHR assisted in the development and implementation of a project seeking to revise the prosecutorial guidance for rape investigations to ensure they are free from harmful stereotypes and in line with international standards.Through joint United Nations programming, OHCHR supported the development of a draft regulation in Kosovo on the verification of status of victims of sexual violence that occurred during the conflict. Also, technical advice was provided in Guatemala on reparations for victims of sexual violence with a view to influence the new national reparation scheme.OHCHR further assisted States in developing or revising family laws and legislation on issues such as violence against women (in Belarus, the Gambia, Myanmar, Senegal, Tunisia and Yemen).
The Regional Office of the OHCHR in Panama has provided, occasionally together with UNDP, technical support for the elaboration of a law on violence against women, which is expected to be adopted on 25 November 2010.Hide
OHCHR field presences address violence against women at the national or regional levels, through technical assistance in law reform and monitoring of Government’s and other stakeholders’ compliance with their international commitments.Hide
OHCHR supported the formulation and implementation of laws on violence against women in accordance with international standards in Afghanistan, Timor-Leste, the Kurdistan region of Iraq and Maldives. In Papua New Guinea, following sustained advocacy by OHCHR and its UN partners, the country’s Law Reform Commission proposed a repeal of the country's sorcery act. In January 2013, at the invitation of the Verma Committee in India, OHCHR made a submission on the review of the law relating to sexual assault, elaborating significant legal and policy elements that should be taken into account to prevent, punish and redress violence against women.Hide
In DRC, the UNJHRO (United Nations Joint Human Rights Office) facilitated access to justice to victims, through free legal aid in judicial procedure and judgment execution process, referral to medical, psychosocial and economic services. 22 legal View More
In DRC, the UNJHRO (United Nations Joint Human Rights Office) facilitated access to justice to victims, through free legal aid in judicial procedure and judgment execution process, referral to medical, psychosocial and economic services. 22 legal clinics were funded by UNJHRO in order to provide free legal information to population and legal aid to victims for regular and mobile trials supported by UNJHRO, and enhance referral mechanisms for services to victims and bridge with prosecution special cells.Hide
In Haiti, OHCHR implemented two CVR (Community Violence Reduction) projects to support women and girls victims of violence. The aim of these two projects is to construct two reception centers, in remote areas where women and girls can seek View More
In Haiti, OHCHR implemented two CVR (Community Violence Reduction) projects to support women and girls victims of violence. The aim of these two projects is to construct two reception centers, in remote areas where women and girls can seek temporary shelter in order to receive psycho social, medical and legal aid.Hide