Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Appointed by the Secretary-General, with regard to geographical rotation and with the approval of the General Assembly, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights serves a fixed term of four years with the possibility of renewal for an additional four-year term. The first High Commissioner, José Ayala-Lasso of Ecuador, took office in April 1994 and was temporarily succeeded by Ralph Zacklin of the United Kingdom in 1997-98. Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, is the second and current High Commissioner. Acting under the direction of the Secretary-General within the framework of the overall competence of the General Assembly, ECOSOC, and the Commission on Human Rights, the High Commissioner is charged by the General Assembly to promote and protect the effective enjoyment by all of all civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights; to provide advisory services and technical and financial assistance in the field of human rights to states that request them; to coordinate United Nations education and public information programmes in the field of human rights; to play an active role in removing the obstacles to the full realization of human rights and in preventing the continuation of human rights violations throughout the world; to engage in dialogue with governments to secure respect for human rights; to enhance international cooperation for the promotion and protection of human rights; to coordinate human rights promotion and protection activities throughout the United Nations system; and to rationalize, adapt, strengthen, and streamline the United Nations machinery in the field of human rights in order to improve its efficiency and effectiveness. Central to this substantial mission is the International Bill of Human Rights.

For more information go to High Commissioner for Human Rights homepage

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