What does the Regional Office for Europe do?


Based in Brussels since 2009, the Regional Office works to advance the protection and promotion of human rights in the European Union (EU) and its member States. The work of the regional office is

The Regional Office cooperates with the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, the Council of Europe, and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Strategic priorities

The priorities of the Regional Office for Europe for the period 2018 – 2021 were decided following consultations with a broad range of stakeholders. They are based on the global priorities and theory of change of the UN Human Rights Office (see Organisational Management Plan 2018 – 2021). The Regional Office for Europe is committed to achieving tangible results in the following areas:

  • The Erosion of Democracy
    • Countering the shrinking of civil society space for national human rights institutions, the media, non-governmental organisations, national, ethnic and religious minorities
    • Advocating for the rule of law, in particular the independence of the judiciary
    • Protecting human rights defenders
  • Equality and Inclusion
    • Strengthening economic and social rights, with a focus on the right to adequate housing, the European Social Pillar, and the Sustainable Development Goals
    • Strengthening EU anti-discrimination legislation
    • Closing human rights gaps through EU budgeting
    • Addressing online hate speech against women and girls
    • Groups in focus: ethnic, racial and religious minorities, persons with disabilities, older persons, homeless persons, LGBTI, children and youth
  • Migration and Xenophobia
    • Access to information and due process in migration procedures
    • Ending the immigration detention of children and advocating for alternatives to administrative detention in the context of migration
    • Access for migrants to health services and justice
    • Challenging xenophobic narratives
  • The Human Rights Based Approach
    • Strengthening national human rights protection systems
    • Promoting engagement with the UN human rights mechanisms
    • Advising on the implementation of human rights recommendations
    • Encouraging the EU to defend human rights globally
    • Advocating for policy coherence between EU internal and external policies
    • Assisting the EU to incorporate a human rights-based approach in its development cooperation
  • Broadening support for human rights