Human rights is one of the three pillars in the United Nations system, the other two being peace and security. Geneva is a global centre for human rights, as both the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Human Rights Council (HRC) are based in the city. As such, the work of the Norwegian mission’s human rights section is largely geared towards these two major institutions.
Norway’s main priority is strengthening the international human rights system. Human rights are under greater pressure, and that makes it necessary to respond by strengthening the impact of the Geneva based human rights institutions both financially and politically. While this is a main priority of Norway, we also work on specific issues such aso leading the work on two thematic issues in the Human Rights Council; human rights defenders as well as business and human rights. Norway is also seeking to strengthen the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) and the Human Rights Council’s engagement in a range of issues, such as economic, social and cultural and political and civil rights.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Norway is one of the largest contributors to the OHCHR, and has been so for a number of years. In May 2014, Foreign Minister Brende and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay, signed an agreement on a financial contribution of NOK 250 million to OHCHR for 2013–2015. In 2013, Norway's voluntary contribution to the OHCHR amounted to approximately 85 million NOK.
The Human Rights Council
The Human Rights Council (HRC) is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe, and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.
The Council is made up of 47 United Nations Member States, which are elected by the UN General Assembly. Norway was a member of the Council from 2009 to 2012. As an observer state, Norway aims to continue to be an active promoter, initiator, critic and liaison on issues on the agenda of the Council.
For further information about the Human Rights Council, please consult OHCHRs webpage.