OHCHR RO Europe header

What does the Regional Office for Europe do?


The Regional Office is mandated to promote and protect human rights in EU Member States, the candidate and potential candidate countries of the Balkans, as well as Norway, Iceland, and Turkey. It also acts a liaison office between OHCHR and EU institutions.

The basis for the Regional Office’s mandate is the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ role as the principal UN official in charge of the promotion and protection of human rights, as set out in the UN General Assembly 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.

Integration of UN standards and principles

The Regional Office for Europe strives to address human rights issues in Europe by promoting the integration of UN human rights standards and principles into EU-wide internal policies, implementation measures as well as national legislation. In addition, the Regional Office seeks to promote the integration of human rights standards and the human rights-based approach into EU external policies and activities.

Policy and advocacy work

To this end the Office provides policy advocacy and advisory services and work with governments, parliaments, judicial and national human rights institutions, civil society organizations and the UN Team in Brussels. Key regional partners include the EU institutions based in Brussels (the Council, the Commission and the Parliament), the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in Vienna, the Council of Europe, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Thematic priorities

The Regional Office focuses on increasing participation of rights-holders in the design and implementation of policies. Its thematic priorities for 2014-2017 are: human rights in development and the economic sphere - including public policies related to the rights of Roma and persons with disabilities, in line with a human rights-based approach; trafficking; countering discrimination - with a focus on Roma, older persons, migrant workers, and persons with disabilities; and promoting engagement with international human rights mechanisms.