OHCHR is mandated to promote and protect the enjoyment and full realization, by all people, of all rights established in the Charter of the United Nations and in international human rights laws and treaties. OHCHR is guided in its work by the mandate provided by the General Assembly in 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.
The mandate includes preventing human rights violations, securing respect for all human rights, promoting international cooperation to protect human rights, coordinating related activities throughout the United Nations, and strengthening and streamlining the United Nations system in the field of human rights. In addition to its mandated responsibilities, the Office leads efforts to integrate a human rights approach within all work carried out by United Nations agencies.
Following the closure of the stand-alone OHCHR office, the Human Rights Section was officially established in July 2016, with offices in both the headquarters in Pristina and the regional office in Mitrovica. As part of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNMIK Human Rights section is also a member of the United Nations Kosovo Team.
UNMIK’s Human Rights Section promotes and protects human rights in Kosovo through active engagement with the Kosovo institutions, in particular the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ombudsperson Institution. In line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, the Human Rights Section supports local actors’ dialogue with United Nations and European human rights mechanisms, including the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCPNM), and the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.
The Human Rights Section devotes particular attention to fostering dialogue and reconciliation between communities, as a way to contribute to lasting peace and security. In that regard, the Human Rights Section engages and coordinates actively with relevant bodies in Belgrade and Pristina on the issues of missing persons in relation to the events in Kosovo between January 1998 and December 2000.
Areas of work:
Supporting the process of solving the fate of those who went missing during the events in Kosovo between January 1998 and December 2000 is central to the work of the Human Rights Section. The Chief of the Section is as a member of the Pristina Delegation of the official mechanism on missing persons between Belgrade and Pristina, commonly referred to as the Working Group on Missing Persons, and chaired by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). UNMIK has supported the creation of a multi-ethnic Missing Persons Resource Center in Pristina, which represents the first multi-ethnic effort in resolving the fate of the thousands of people still missing from the conflict years.
Support to the Ombudsperson Institution in Kosovo
Together with the Council of Europe, the Human Rights Section provides technical assistance to the Ombudsperson Institution in Kosovo (OiK) on the National Preventive Mechanism of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (NPMT). Established on 15 January 2016, the NPMT operates as a new structure within the OiK to inspect and monitor places of detention
Support to the United Nations and European mechanisms
Because Kosovo cannot formally be a party to international human rights conventions and mechanisms, the Human Rights Section supports the work and dialogue of UN and European human rights mechanisms with Kosovo through continuous interactions with Kosovo’s institutions in coordination with other international organizations, such as the EU, OSCE, and the Council of Europe.
-The Human Rights Section established the International Human Rights Working Group (IHRWG) that gathers the EU, OSCE, the Council of Europe, and the Ombudsperson, with the aim of engaging in joint advocacy towards Kosovo institutions on human rights policies and strategies. These joint advocacies resulted in key achievements such as the establishment of the Inter Ministerial Coordinating Group on Human Rights at Prime Minister level.
-The Human Rights Section has created a strong partnership with Play International on Youth and Human Rights in order to promote reconciliation through human rights education.