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 UNiTE Group for the Americas and the Caribbean, including 9 agencies -PAHO, UNDP, OHCHR, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNHCR, ECLAC, WFP and UN Women- and the IDB and the OAS, developed 12 Key Messages to Eradicate Violence Against Women and Girls in Latin View More
The UNiTE Group for the Americas and the Caribbean, including 9 agencies -PAHO, UNDP, OHCHR, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNHCR, ECLAC, WFP and UN Women- and the IDB and the OAS, developed 12 Key Messages to Eradicate Violence Against Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean. This unprecedented effort led by UN Women, systematized the lessons learned from all the publications and knowledge produced in the context of the UNiTE Campaign in the last 7 years. These messages were launched in the framework of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, which took place in Montevideo in October of 2016. Thereafter, the messages were the basis for the celebrations of November 25th at regional and country level.Hide
Awareness-raising activities, including on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the International Day for the Elimination of Racism and Racial Discrimination, addressing violence against women are a key feature of OHCHR strategic management plan.Hide
The OHCHR/Human Rights and Transitional Justice Section in the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste has continued to conduct activities on the prevention and elimination of violence against women.Hide
OHCHR supported the on violence against women, its causes and consequences in advocating for the elimination of violence against women, such as in the conference on femicide in Latin America, organized with the European Parliament, and in a colloquium on domestic migrant workers in the EU, organized by OHCHR Regional office in Brussels.Hide
OHCHR initiated research on how human rights mechanisms have addressed harmful gender stereotypes and wrongful gender stereotyping aimed at informing further work to promote greater attention to states obligations and promising practices. The organization also continued its support to female human rights defenders through awareness-raising on the UN framework on the protection of human rights defenders; a regional workshop in Lebanon on women human rights defenders from Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco which brought together women human rights defenders and UN country representatives, including the SRVAW; an internship for two women human rights defenders from Papua New Guinea in Nepal in order to strengthen their monitoring and documentation capacity on sorcery-related killings of women and violations against women.Hide
Numerous UN entities, as key member of the Secretary-General’s Campaign Unite to End Violence Against Women and Girls, launched various campaigns and events to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence in 2013. For example, OHCHR created a dedicated web page, organised an online panel discussion on the role of small arms on gender-based violence. UNDP organized a meeting in Namimbia aimed at mobilizing men in EVAW.Hide
In the context of the Swiss week to combat trafficking in persons, OHCHR, in cooperation with ILO, IOM and UNHCR organized an expert panel on all forms of human exploitation, including trafficking.Hide
OHCHR Regional Office for Europe provided a briefing (21 October) on the work of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women at an International Conference on Violence against Women in Central America which took place in London and was organized by the Central America Women's Network (CAWN).Hide
The OHCHR/Human Rights Adviser in the Russian Federation contributed to activities of the annual campaign “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence” in partnership with the UN Gender Theme group. The OHCHR Regional Office in Central Africa participated in a conference/debate ("causeries éducatives"), organised by the UN Theme Group on Gender, on 8 December 2010, in Yaoundé, Cameroon, where several issues were discussed, including early and forced marriages; female genital mutilation and gender-based violence and HIV/Aids. Several stakeholders participated in the event. The Human Rights Section of MINUSTAH in Haiti, in collaboration with the MINUSTAH Multimedia Center held a session on the different types of violence against women, with representatives of the civil society (November 2010).Hide
A number of stories related to violence against women were posted on the How We Make a Difference section of OHCHR’s home page throughout 2008 and 2009. On International Women’s Day 2008, OHCHR’s home page featured a story on the launch of the Secretary-General’s UNiTE Campaign. The Office also proposed and contributed a story on violence against women to DPI’s 2008 “Ten Stories the World Should Hear More About” web page.Hide