The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is headed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Louise Arbour was appointed High Commissioner in July 2004; Kyung-wha Kang joined her as Deputy High Commissioner in January 2007.

OHCHR is based in Geneva and has an office in New York, as well as other country and regional offices. Headquarters contains four substantive divisions: the Human Rights Council and Treaties Division; the Special Procedures Division; the Research and Right to Development Division; and the Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division, in addition to the Executive Office of the High Commissioner and a number of sections that report to the Deputy High Commissioner.

The Executive Direction and Management includes several working units. The Executive Office supports the High Commissioner and the Deputy High Commissioner in leading and managing OHCHR. The Policy, Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Section works with all staff to ensure that the strategic vision of OHCHR is translated into concrete priorities and operational plans, and that effective monitoring and evaluation of impact is conducted. The Communications Section develops and implements strategies to improve general knowledge of human rights and create support for the work of the United Nations and OHCHR in the area of human rights. The newly created Civil Society Unit will strengthen and rationalize OHCHR’s interaction with civil society actors worldwide and support their engagement with UN human rights bodies and mechanisms. The Field Safety and Security Section is responsible, in coordination with the United Nations Department of Safety and Security, for ensuring the security of OHCHR premises and staff in all field presences, and for staff and special rapporteurs travelling on official mission. The Donor and External Relations Section works to ensure that Member States are kept fully informed of the Offices’s plans, priorities and funding needs, and mobilize the necessary resources to support implementation of OHCHR’s programmes.

The Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division coordinates the development and implementation of OHCHR country engagement strategies. Five geographic teams ensure country expertise and, among other things, manage the technical cooperation programme, support country special procedures, and serve as entry points for OHCHR offices in the field. In addition, the Division has two support units with expertise on national human rights institutions and rapid response and support to human rights components in UN peace missions.

OHCHR field presences are accountable to the High Commissioner through the Chief of the Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division. Field presences take the form of regional offices, country offices, support for peace missions, or the assignment of human rights advisers to United Nations Country Teams. Each presence is responsible for a different set of activities tailored to the immediate situation and drawing on the full range of tools available to OHCHR.

The Research and Right to Development Division builds and helps apply expertise in selected cross-cutting themes of particular importance to the UN human rights programme, such as equality and non-discrimination, including programmes for groups and issues deserving special attention (victims of racial discrimination, minorities and indigenous peoples, women's rights and gender issues, disability and trafficking, and protection of people affected by HIV/AIDS); the right to development and economic, social, and cultural rights; the rule of law and democracy; rights-based approaches to development, including the Millennium Development Goals and poverty reduction; and humanitarian and peace and security activities. The Division also manages the OHCHR Documentation Centre and publications programme.

The Special Procedures Division provides support to the thematic special procedures of the Human Rights Council, such as the special rapporteurs, special representatives, independent experts and working groups. The Division facilitates the work of special procedures mandate-holders by collaborating with all stakeholders and by providing thematic, fact-finding, and legal expertise, research and analysis, and administrative and logistical support for their work.

The Human Rights Council and Treaties Division ensures the smooth functioning of the Human Rights Council and eight treaty bodies that monitor implementation of the core human rights instruments. It also supports activities carried out through the Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture and the Fund relating to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture. In addition, the Division coordinates all official documentation prepared by OHCHR for use by intergovernmental bodies and, in close cooperation with UNICEF and WHO, provides substantive and administrative support to the Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children.

The Programme Support and Management Services provide support in the areas of budgeting and financial management; personnel recruitment and human resources; procurement, asset management, and general logistical support to field activities; information technology; and staff development and training.

The New York Office ensures that human rights issues are fully integrated into the United Nations’ agenda for development and security. The office provides substantive support on human rights issues to the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the Security Council, and other intergovernmental bodies.

OHCHR Strategic Management Plan 2008-2009

OHCHR Strategic Management Plan 2008-2009

The following organization charts are linked to United Nations documents.

Original map of U.N. Human Rights Organizational Structure

Structure map of United Nations