Human rights

Annual report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/HRC/50/4) (Advance unedited version) – World


human rights council
Fiftieth session
June 13–July 8, 2022
Agenda Item 2
Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General


  1. The present report is submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 48/141 and contains an overview of the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), at headquarters in Geneva and New York, and in the field, conducted between 1 July 2021 and 15 March 2022. As of March 2022, OHCHR had 103 human rights field presences globally. The adjusted length of the reporting period is due to the change in the annual program of work of the Human Rights Council.1 The report should be read in conjunction with the report of the High Commissioner to the General Assembly (A/76/ 36) which contains an overview of OHCHR activities from 1 January to 30 June 2021.

  2. The COVID-19 pandemic represents a challenge of unprecedented magnitude to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and has demonstrated the fragility of development processes when not anchored in human rights. The increasingly divergent recovery coupled with shrinking civic space in many countries is an alarming trend. In the context of the pandemic, OHCHR underscored that human rights provide a comprehensive blueprint for a sustainable recovery, as also recalled by the Secretary-Generals Call to Action for Human Rights2 and the Secretary-Generals Our report on the Common Agenda,3 and called for a move towards an economy that strengthens human rights.

  3. As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact the way OHCHR was able to carry out its mandate, the Office remained able to adapt to constraints using different modalities, such as as the increased use of online tracking tools and hybrid conferencing.

  4. OHCHR supported the effective use of human rights mechanisms to address pressing political, social and economic issues. It continued to support the continued functioning of United Nations human rights mechanisms and the delivery of their mandates, in remote and hybrid formats during 26 sessions, which saw 45 reports reviewed. States parties and to avoid gaps in the protection of human rights. The Office has also taken initiatives to better link these mechanisms with other processes in support of prevention, protection, peacekeeping, sustainable development and peace and security.

  5. OHCHR promoted human rights standards in State responses to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure an effective and inclusive recovery, including through thematic guidance notes, advocacy, technical cooperation and experience sharing. OHCHR worked closely with government entities, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs) and United Nations actors. For example, OHCHR has conducted recovery needs assessments, identifying protection gaps to leave no one behind in COVID-19 response plans, strengthening the integration of economic and social rights, including from a macroeconomic point of view. OHCHR provided human rights analysis and advice to common country analyzes and United Nations cooperation frameworks and contributed to national development processes.

  6. OHCHR continued to prioritize the implementation of the Secretary-General’s “Highest Aspiration: A Call to Action for Human Rights” (Call to Action or C2A), with a call to ensure system-wide accountability for human rights as well as the imperative to act on mainstreaming human rights at the country level. The Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights worked closely with the Under-Secretary-General for Policy in the Office of the Secretary-General to lead the implementation of the Call to Action. Significant progress has been made in translating its vision and fundamental principles into concrete actions. The C2A brought together the UN system across all seven thematic areas and generated genuine engagement among UN entities, which developed tools, guidance and advocacy designed to advance policy coherence and development. concerted action at country level. Together with the EOSG, OHCHR continued to support the inter-agency effort to ensure that United Nations field offices receive adequate support and equipment to advance the implementation of the Call to Action, emphasizing the identification of concrete actions to meet the most critical human needs. rights issues with the aim of having a positive impact on people’s lives. OHCHR continued to conduct outreach with Member States, CSOs and other stakeholders to raise awareness and build momentum in its implementation, in particular around the synergies between the Call for action and Our common program of the Secretary-General.