Human Rights Working Group

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There is virtually no aspect of our work that does not have a human rights dimension. Whether we are talking about peace and security, development, humanitarian action, the struggle against terrorism, climate change, none of these challenges can be addressed in isolation from human rights.

– Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations

The UNDG Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), established at the behest of the UN Secretary-General, aims to integrate human rights in the UN’s development work. The overall objectives of the UNDG-HRWG are to bolster system-wide coherence, collaboration and support for Resident Coordinators and UN country teams, so that they can better provide support to Member States to strengthen national capacity for the promotion and protection of human rights.

The UNDG-HRWG plays a catalytic role in making the UNDG ‘Fit for Purpose’ to deliver a human rights-based development agenda firmly anchored in universal norms and standards through:

  • Providing a policy forum for  policy coherence in human rights mainstreaming across the UN development system.
  • Making human rights expertise available to national development actors and processes, anchored in strong human rights leadership by Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams with strengthened capacity and support structures.
  • Acting as the lead mechanism through which the UNDG can effectively deliver on the responsibilities and demands made on the UN development system by the Human Rights Up Front initiative.

 * Terms of Reference for the UNDG Human Rights Working Group (2014) 

Chronology of UN Milestones For Human Rights and Development
Chronology of UN Milestones For Human Rights and Development

Key Focus Areas of UNDG Support to RCs and UNCTs in 2016*

    1. Strengthening policy coherence on Mainstreaming Human Rights in Development - "Stories from the Field" - cover imagehuman rights and developing advocacy messages and analyses on the human rights dimensions of development
    2. Supporting RCs and UNCT leadership engage politically and tactically on human rights, through scaling up deployment of in-country and regional human rights advisers and providing guidance and training
      1. Human Rights Advisers
      2. RC guidance and training on HR [Page Forthcoming]
    3. Ensuring a dynamic interface between the UN development system and the UN human rights system
      1. Engaging with International Human Rights Mechanisms
    4. Supporting UNCTs apply a human rights-based approach to development through strengthening capacities of regional UNDG Teams; bolstering knowledge exchange, including through the UN Human Rights Policy network (HuriTALK) and the UN HRBA Practitioners’ Portal (; and integrating human rights into UNDG Guidance
      1. Common Learning Package on the Human Rights-Based Approach
      2. Case Studies and Experienceshrwg visual link 2
    5. Support the UNDG meet its responsibilities under Human Rights up Front Initiative through supporting stronger human rights analyses and strategic responses; and deploying tailored and timely support to UNCTs to address potential risks of or actual violations of human rights.

To support the UNDG-HRWG in achieving its objectives, in particular to support UN country teams respond to the growing demand for support on human rights a Multi-Donor Trust Fund has been created.

* For more information see the UNDG-HRWG 2015-2016 Workplan

Related Documents

Publication Date
Files and links
Statement by the UNDG Human Rights Working Group on the Right to Development to General Assembly High Level Segment2016
Policy and Operational Messages to Support UN Country Teams on Human Rights in SDG Implementation2015
UNDG Guidance Note on Human Rights for Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams2015
Human Rights in Development: The Bulletin of the UNDG-HRWG2015
Chronology of UN Milestones on Human Rights and Development (UNDG-HRWG, 2015)2015
Human Rights Working Group Work Plan 2015-2016 March (2015)2015
Statement by the UNDG Human Rights Working Group at the Expert Group Meeting on the Indicator Framework for the Post-2015 Development Agenda2015
Implementing Human Rights Post 20152014
UNDG Human Rights Working Group - Terms of Reference2014
Mainstreaming Human Rights - Case Study Publication (September 2013)2013
OHCHR Information Note for UN Resident Coordinators, UN Country Teams, other UN entities2016
Frequently Asked Questions on a Human Rights-Based Approach to Development Cooperation2006