Skip to content


Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The mandate and leadership of the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights

The office of the High Commissioner of 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.

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. The current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, was appointed in September 2018.

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.

Field presence
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.

Treaty bodies
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.

Denmark’s contribution to OHCHR
Denmark supports OHCHR with an annual voluntary contribution of DKK 60 million, of which DKK 27 million is core funding for the OHCHR, DKK 28 million is channeled through the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation and DKK 5 million is earmarked to the Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.  Denmark also finances Junior Professional Officers working with OHCHR as well as a number of separate projects.

The priorities for Denmark’s support to OHCHR for 2019-2022 are the following:
1. Strengthened implementation of the outcomes of the international human rights mechanisms
2. Mainstreaming human rights in development and in peace and security
3. Action for organisational effectiveness
Across these, Denmark will support OHCHR’s focus on expanding civic space, emerging technologies, and women and young people. In addition, Denmark will prioritize cooperation and dialogue with OHCHR on fight against torture, indigenous peoples, freedom of religion or belief, and LGBTI persons.

OHCHR’s website
Denmark’s Organisational Strategy for OHCHR 2019-2022