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, the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Following the closure of the stand-alone OHCHR office in Kosovo, the Human Rights Section was officially established within UNMIK in July 2016, with offices in UNMIK headquarters in Pristina and UNMIK regional office in Mitrovica. The Section operates within the framework of the 2011 joint OHCHR-DPKO-DPA-DFS Policy of Human Rights in Peacekeeping and Special Political Missions. As part of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Human Rights section is also a member of the United Nations Kosovo Team.
The 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 Kosovo. The section closely monitors human rights developments in Kosovo and creates synergies and joint activities with key international and local stakeholders.
Areas of work:
Promoting International Human Rights Standards
The Human Rights Section, in line with UNSCR 1244, facilitates interaction between local actors and United Nations and European human rights mechanisms through continuous interactions with Kosovo’s institutions in coordination with other international organizations, such as the EU, OSCE, and the Council of Europe. Recently, the Human Rights Section facilitated local actors’ engagement with the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council as well as with the implementation of the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.
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 Human Rights Section supports a victim-centered approach on missing persons, bolstered through the establishment of the Missing Persons Resource Center in Pristina for the families of victims from all communities. Among efforts to discover the fate of persons who remain unaccounted for, the Human Rights Section provided a state-of-the-art ground penetrating radar machine to the Working Group on Missing Persons, the official mechanism on missing persons between Belgrade and Pristina.
The Human Rights Section promotes trust building among communities through programmatic activities and facilitation of dialogue on human rights issues, while supporting Kosovo authorities to better promote and protect human rights. Recent activities have focused on human rights education, promoting language rights, access to justice, and strengthening institutional response.
Partnerships and Cooperation
Aiming to strengthen the implementation of international human rights standards in Kosovo, the Human Rights Section has established close cooperation and coordination with partners and other organizations working in the field of human rights through several mechanisms such as the International Human Rights Working Group in Pristina and the Regional Human Rights Working Group in Mitrovica, that have enhanced coordination between UNKT, UNMIK, the EU, OSCE, the Council of Europe, and the Ombudsperson Institution in relation to monitoring and addressing human rights issues in Kosovo.
Mr. Jerome Bouyjou
Chief of the UNMIK Human Rights Office and Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Ms. Teuta Haxhibeqiri
Associate Human Rights Officer