Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The mandate of OHCHR
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.
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 OHCHR leads efforts to integrate a human rights approach within all work carried out by United Nations agencies.
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 head office was established in Geneva in 1993.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who was appointed in September 2008, sets out her office's priorities in two key strategic documents: the OHCHR Plan of Action and the OHCHR Management Plan 2012-2013. These priorities include greater country engagement and working closely with partners in the country in order to ensure that international human rights standards are implemented on the ground; a stronger leadership role for the High Commissioner; and closer partnerships with civil society and United Nations agencies.
Assistance to Governments
Since Governments have the primary responsibility to protect human rights, the 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.
Another example of the standard-setting and monitoring dimensions of OHCHR’s 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, e.g. the Convention on Torture. They meet regularly to examine reports from State parties and issue their recommendations.
OHCHR works 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 increased its presence in the field. The 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.
HRC – The Human Rights Council
OHCHR serves as the Secretariat of the Human Rights Council. The Council’s stated purpose is to address human rights violations and consists of 47 member states. The Council is a subsidiary body of the General Assembly and the successor to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
UPR – Universal Periodic Review
A key component of the Council consists in a periodic review of all 194 UN member states, called Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The mechanism is based on three reports coming from the State under review, NGO's and treaty bodies/special procedures. Each country's situation will be examined during a three and a half hours debate.
On 2 May 2011, Denmark was examined in its first UPR. Before the submission of Denmark’s national report, several public hearings were held in order to include as broad a base of relevant actors in the process. The hearings were held in the two biggest cities in Denmark – Copenhagen and Aarhus – and in Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The hearings were arranged in cooperation with the Danish Institute for Human Rights, the Greenland Self-Government and the Faroese Government.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched a website where all interested parties could submit suggestions on areas to be covered by the report. A draft report in Danish was also released for public comment on the website. Civil society organisations were furthermore invited to comment on the final draft of the report. On 21 September 2011, the HRC adopted the UPR report of Denmark. Denmark accepted 82 recommendations and rejected 49. 2 were partially accepted.
Denmark’s second examination will take place in 2016. Between the first and second examination, Denmark will present a mid-term report to the Human Rights Council providing a status on the implementation of recommendations from the first examination.
For more information, see www.UPR-info.org
Special procedures is the name given to the mechanisms established by the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights and continued by the Human Rights Council to monitor human rights violations in specific countries or examine global human rights issues.
Special procedures can be either individuals (called Special Rapporteurs, Special Representatives or Independent Experts) who are leading experts in a particular area of human rights, or working groups usually composed of five members. In order to preserve their independence they do not receive pay for their work.
OHCHR supports the work of all special procedures. They 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.
Danish contributions to OHCHR
Danish core contribution to OHCHR in 2013: 27 million DKK
Earmarked contribution to the Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture in 2013: 3 million DKK
Read here: Danish Organisation Strategy OHCHR 2014-2017