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Research Guides United Nations Office at Geneva Library & Archives

Human Rights Timeline: Secretariat

Human rights Secretariat - structure

1946-1954                        UN Department of Social Affairs. Division of Human Rights

1955-1974                        UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Division of Human Rights

1974-1982                        UNOG Divivision of Human Rights

1982-1994                        UNOG Centre for Human Rights

1994 - present day          OHCHR

 Related links:

  • Establishment of the post of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: 
    • from a proposal in 1951 from Uruguay
    • to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action in 1993 and 
    • General Assembly resolution A/RES/48/141 of 20 December 1993
  • 20 anniversary of the OHCHR

1946-1982 - Division of Human Rights

UNOG. Division of Human Rights

 

Organization of the Division:

1976 ST/SGB/Organization/SectionS 
1977 ST/SGB/Organization/SectionS/Add.1/Ammend.1: pp. 20-23

 

Directors:

1974-1977           Director – Marc Schreiber 
1977-1982           Director – Theodor G. van Boven

UN. Dept of Economic and Social Affairs. Division of Human Rights

Organization of the Division:

1959 ST/ADM/1, Section 5(b)
1960 ST/SGB/122, Section 5(b)
1964 ST/SGB/128, Chapitre 1 (a) (Fr)
1966 ST/SGB/131, Section 1(a)

 

Directors:

1955-1966           Director – John P. Humphrey 
1966-1974           Director – Marc Schreiber

Pursuant to GA decisions Budget Estimate for the Financial Year 1973 (para. f.g  A/8730, p, 109) and Proposed Programme Budget for the biennium 1974-1975 and Medium-term plan for the period 1974-1977 (para g A/9030, p. 132) Division of Human Rights was transferred to Geneva with effect from 15 June 1974.

 

UN. Dept of Social Affairs. Division of Human Rights

Organization of the Division: 

1946 SG/AD/W.30, pp. 8, 17, 19-20
1951 ST/FS/2, Section 8
1953 ST/FS/2, pp. 105, 107-108, 110-112

 

Directors:

1946-1952           Director – John P. Humphrey 
1953                    Acting Director – Egon Schwelb
1954                    Director – John P. Humphrey 

1982-1994 - Centre for Human Rights

UNOG. Centre for Human Rights

Established by General Assembly Decision 37/437 (In: A/37/51, p.290)

 

Assistant and Under Secretary-Generals:

1982-1987          Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights  – Kurt Herndle
1987-1992          Under Secretary-General for Human Rights – Jan Martenson
1992                     Under Secretary-General – Antoine Blanca
1993-1994          Under Secretary-General – Ibrahima Fall

1994 until present - OHCHR

Michelle Bachelet New United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle Bachelet Jeria, 2018-2022

OHCHR page

Appointment:

Secretary-General press-release (10 Aug 2018) ; General Assembly press-release (10 Aug 2018)

GA decision 72/422 – Approval of the appointment of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Meeting record:  A/72/PV.111, agenda item 115 (h)

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein New United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein, 2014-2018

OHCHR page

Appointment:

Secretary-General press-release (6 June 2014)

GA decision 68/420 – Approval of the appointment of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In: Resolutions and decisions adopted by the General Assembly during its 68th session. Volume 3, 28 December 2013 – 15 September 2014 – A/68/49 (Vol.III) – 2015 – p. 156 – (GAOR, 68th sess., Suppl. No. 49). 

Meeting record:  A/68/PV.98, agenda item 116 (i)


Navanethem Pillay New High Commissioner for Human Rights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Navanethem Pillay, 2008-2014

OHCHR page

Appointment, 1st term:

Secretary-General press-release  (28 July 2008)

GA decision 62/420 – Approval of the appointment of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In: Resolutions and decisions adopted by the General Assembly during its 62nd session. Volume 3, 23 December 2007 – 15 September 2008 – A/62/49 (Vol.III) – 2008 – p. 102 – (GAOR, 62nd sess., Suppl. No. 49).

Meeting record: A/62/PV.116, agenda item 114 (i)

 

Appointment, 2nd term:

GA decision 66/423 – Approval of the appointment of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In: Resolutions and decisions adopted by the General Assembly during its 66th session. Volume 3, 25 December 2011 – 17 September 2012 – A/66/49 (Vol.III) – 2012 – p. 204 – (GAOR, 66th sess., Suppl. No. 49). 

Meeting record:  A/66/PV.98110, agenda item 115 (h)

Louise Arbour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louise Arbor, 2004-2008

OHCHR page

Appointment:

Secretary-General press-release (20 Feb. 2004)

GA decision 58/417 – Approval of the appointment of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In: Resolutions and decisions adopted by the General Assembly during its 58th session. Volume 3, 24 December 2003 – 13 September 2004 – A/58/49 (Vol.III) – 2004 – p. 58 – (GAOR, 58th sess., Suppl. No. 49). 

Meeting record:  A/58/PV.81, agenda item 117

High Commissioner for Human Rights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bertrand Ramcharan, 2003-2004

OHCHR page

Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Acting High Commissioner

Appointment - Secretary-General press-release (27 Oct 1998)

 A/57/818 – Letter dated 23 May 2003 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the General Assembly

After the death of Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello, then High Commissioner, who was killed on 19 August 2003 during the attack on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Dr. Ramcharan assumed the post of acting High Commissioner for Human Rights, which he held until July 2004, when a new High Commissioner, was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General.

Related press-releases:

SG/SM/8823-IK/376 Vieira de Mello’s death ‘bitter blow’ for United Nations, says Secretary-General (19 August 2003) 

HR/4688-IK/380 - Remarks of Bertrand Ramcharan, Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights, at Baghdad Airport (22 August 2003)

Sergio Vieira de Mello

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sergio Vieira de Mello, 2002-2003

OHCHR page

Appointment:

Secretary-General press-release (23 July 2002)

GA decision 56/323 – Approval of the appointment of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In: Resolutions and decisions adopted by the General Assembly during its 56th session. Volume 3, 25 December 2001 – 9 September 2002 – A/56/49 (Vol.III) – 2002 – p. 95 – (GAOR, 56th sess., Suppl. No. 49).

Meeting record: A/56/PV.109, agenda item 17 (i)

Related press-release: 

SG/A/837-BIO/3494-IK/361 - Secretary-General appoints Sergio Vieira de Mello as his Special Representative for Iraq (28 May 2003)

Mary Robinson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Robinson, 1997-2002

OHCHR page

Appointment, 1st term:

Secretary-General press-release (12 June 1997)

GA decision 51/322 – Approval of the appointment of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In: Resolutions and decisions adopted by the General Assembly during its 51st session. Volume 3, 19 December 1996 – 15 September 1997 – A/51/49 (Vol.III) – 1997 – p. 126 – (GAOR, 51st sess., Suppl. No. 49).

Meeting record: A/51/PV.102, agenda item 110 

 

Appointment, 2nd term:

GA decision 55/322 – Approval of the appointment of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In: Resolutions and decisions adopted by the General Assembly during its 55th session. Volume 3, 24 December 2000 – 10 September 2001 – A/55/49 (Vol.III) – 2001 – p. 89 – (GAOR, 55th sess., Suppl. No. 49).

Meeting record: A/55/PV.101, agenda item 17 (j)

José Ayala Lasso

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

José Ayala-Lasso, 1994-1997

OHCHR page   

Appointment:

Secretary-General press-release (1 Feb. 1994)

GA decision 48/231 – Approval of the appointment of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In: Resolutions and decisions adopted by the General Assembly during its 48th session. Volume 2, 24 December 1993 – 19 September 1994 – A/48/49 (Vol.I I) – 1994 – p. 57 – (GAOR, 48th sess., Suppl. No. 49). 

Meeting record: A/48/PV.89, agenda item 114 (b)

Established by the GA Resolution 48/141 (20 December 1993).

Organization of the OHCHR:

1997 ST/SGB/1997/10
2006 OHCHR report. Organizational Chart
2007 OHCHR report. Organizational Chart
2008 OHCHR report. Organizational Chart
2009 OHCHR report. Organizational Chart
2010 OHCHR report. Annex IV. Organizational Chart
2011 OHCHR report. Annex V. Organizational Chart
2012 OHCHR report. Annex III. Organizational Chart
2013 OHCHR report. Annex IV. Organizational Chart  
2014 OHCHR report. Annex III. Organizational Chart 
2015 OHCHR report. Annex IV. Organizational Chart
2016 OHCHR Report. Annex IV. Organizational Chart

2017 OHCHR report. Annex IV. Organizational Chart