Update: 19.08.2011

UN High Commissioner For Human Rights

The High Commissioner for Human Rights is the most important human rights protection switch point at the United Nations. The Office ot the High Commissioner for Human Rights was appointed by the General Assembly to realise a demand of the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993.  

Since September 2018, Michelle Bachelet Jeria of Chile holds the position of High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Past Incumbents

José Ayala-Lasso, Ecuador, 1994–1997
Mary Robinson, Ireland, 1997–2002
Sérgio Vieira de Mello, Brazil, 2002–2003
Bertrand Ramcharan, Guyana, 2003-2004 (Interim)
Louise Arbour, Canada, 2004–June 2008
Navanethem Pillay, South Africa, 2008 - 2014
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, Jordan, 2014-2018

Tasks of the High Commissioner 

The High Commissioner for Human Rights is the principle of the UN Office for Human Rights in Geneva, which absorbed the UN Human Rights Centre in 1997. The High Commissioner coordinates the tasks of the different human rights organs of the UN. Further, the High Commissioner can become pro-active to remove hurdles to the realisation of human rights. Moreover, the High Commissioner can have a consultatory function to other organs. The High Commissioner responds directly to the UN Secretary General.  

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights 

The main tasks for the OHCHR are: law-making, monitoring and fixating human rights standards on the national level. The OHCHR works together with all relevant players within and outside of the UN. It supports the UN Human Rights Council and it's Special Rapporteurs on the operational level. 

Over the past couple of years the office has constantly expanded it's temporary branches in many countries on all continents («field presences»). The aim is to offer concrete aid to the development of the human rights protection on the national level in the scope of regional strategies. 

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