Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Regional Office for Europe

Based in Brussels since 2009, the Regional Office for Europe is one of the 80+ field presences of the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) around the world working to advance the protection and promotion of human rights for all, supported by headquarters in Geneva.

Agency Overview

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights) is the leading UN entity on human rights. We represent the world’s commitment to the promotion and protection of the full range of human rights and freedoms set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Both the High Commissioner and the Office have a unique role to:

  • Promote and protect all human rights: We speak out objectively in the face of human rights violations and help elaborate the standards that are used to evaluate human rights progress worldwide.
  • Help empower people: Our research, education, and advocacy activities, contributes to the increased awareness and engagement by the international community and the public on human rights issues. This means thousands of people in all regions of the world are empowered to claim their rights.
  • Assist Governments: Through our field presences, we help prevent abuses and contribute to defusing situations that could lead to conflict. Our monitoring and analysis feeds sensitive decision-making and development programming. We also provide capacity-building and legal advice to thousands, supporting the development and judicious enactment of laws and policies the world around.
  • Inject a human rights perspective into all UN programmes: We mainstream human rights into all UN programmes to ensure that peace and security, development, and human rights – the three pillars of the UN – are interlinked and mutually reinforced.

The Regional Office for Europe’s (ROE) primary function is to advance human rights in the European Union (EU) through technical assistance, advocacy, and reporting on human rights, based on the recommendations of UN human rights mechanisms. ROE works to address human rights gaps in EU legislation, budgeting and policy-making, seizing the impetus created by the Sustainable Development Agenda. In addition, ROE strives for the integration of a human rights-based approach in EU external action, migration policies and development cooperation. The Office further fulfils an outreach, liaison between the UN Human Rights Office globally and the EU institutions.

Key Areas of Work

The priorities of the Regional Office for Europe were decided following consultations with a broad range of stakeholders. They are based on the global priorities and theory of change of the UN Human Rights Office. The Regional Office for Europe is committed to achieving tangible results in the following areas:

Civic Space and Democracy

  •  Countering the shrinking of civil society space for national human rights institutions, the media, non-governmental organisations, national, ethnic and religious minorities
  •  Advocating for the rule of law, in particular the independence of the judiciary
  •  Protecting human rights defenders

Migration and Xenophobia

  •  Access to information and due process in migration procedures
  •  Ending the immigration detention of children and advocating for alternatives to administrative detention in the context of migration
  •  Access for migrants to health services and justice
  •  Challenging xenophobic narratives

Equality and Inclusion

  •  Strengthening economic and social rights, with a focus on the right to adequate housing, the European Social Pillar, and the Sustainable Development Goals
  •  Strengthening EU anti-discrimination legislation
  •  Closing human rights gaps through EU budgeting
  •  Addressing online hate speech against women and girls
  •  Groups in focus: ethnic, racial and religious minorities, persons with disabilities, older persons, homeless persons, LGBTI, children and youth

The Human Rights Based Approach

  •  Strengthening national human rights protection systems
  •  Promoting engagement with the UN human rights mechanisms
  •  Advising on the implementation of human rights recommendations
  •  Encouraging the EU to defend human rights globally
  •  Advocating for policy coherence between EU internal and external policies
  •  Assisting the EU to incorporate a human rights-based approach in its development cooperation

Broadening support for human rights


Address: UN House, Boulevard du Régent 37-40, 1000 Brussels, Belgium.
Telephone:  +32 2 274 01 70
Official Website
Reach us at:
[email protected]


Annual Report: Human Rights Report 2022 ( Gain insights into our achievements, challenges, and impact over the past year.

Research Papers: FutureOfEurope.pdf ( The Future of Europe: International Human Rights in Europe Integration.

Protecting and expanding civic space in the EU and beyond V2.1 (1) (1).pdf ( Protecting and expanding civic space in the EU and Beyond.

Additional Information