Human Rights

hurilabHuriLab brings together citizens, designers, organizers and connectors to further the cause of human rights.

UNDP works with national partners to protect human rights, especially on behalf of the most vulnerable groups: minorities, women, people living in poverty, and people with disabilities.

In addition to legislative reforms, and implementing core human rights conventions, upholding human rights also requires addressing discrimination and social exclusion.

With support from UNDP, many national partners throughout the region have improved voting rights, social services and employment opportunities for victims of conflict, people living in poverty and people with disabilities.

As UNDP continues its work in the region, we will push for more accountable government, dynamic civil society and active citizens engaged in human rights and justice.

Human Rights in Europe and CIS

People in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States face daily human rights challenges that threaten equality and democratic governance.

While 35 percent of the population is made powerless by social exclusion, women across the region are subject to employment wages that are 26 to 57 percent less than men’s.

Up to 23 percent of Roma households face multiple forms of housing deprivation. Disadvantaged groups, such as minorities, people living in poverty, and people with disabilities, are often more vulnerable to human rights violations.

Many countries in the region also struggle with issues such as violation of civil and political rights, denial of economic, social and cultural rights, ethnic tension and violence, and increased vulnerability to economic instability.

What we do

UNDP partners with human rights and justice institutions and civil society organizations as they work to uphold human rights. This includes:

  • Amending national legislation to better protect human rights
  • Adhering to national and international principles and mechanisms (human rights based approach, an independent judiciary, and the Universal Periodic Review)
  • Reporting to United Nations Treaty Bodies and establishing independent judicial bodies and national human rights institutions
  • Strengthening national human rights protection systems for both rights holders and duty bearers
  • Implementing core human rights conventions, with particular focus on the Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities

Some results so far

To promote social inclusion, fYR Macedonia began a self-employment programme in 2007, which has helped 3,000 people so far to begin their own businesses. (Meet some of the entrepreneurs.)

Georgia has a programme to impart vocational skills to improve the self-reliance of people in conflict-prone areas. UNDP partnered with nine professional education centres to upgrade their training for 25 professions. By the end of 2012, the programme had 3,000 graduates, and 70 percent of them quickly found employment.

In Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection is improving social services for people with disabilities, with $200 million of government funding allocated to the cause. After UNDP support and lobbying by NGOs, the Ministry for Transport and Communication is working to make all railway platforms and trains wheelchair-friendly by 2015.

Serbia launched a web portal called Rate Your Rights to get citizen perspectives on human rights issues. Citizens left over 2,000 comments on the survey, which helped shape Serbia’s response to recommendations from the Universal Periodic Review.

People with disabilities in Croatia regained the right to vote, in a triumph for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The move impacted 16,000 people, who had been struck from the voting register when they were placed under guardianship.

Call to action

  1. As policymakers, work towards the ratification and implementation of the core international human rights treaties, and amend national legislation and policies whenever necessary for the effective protection of human rights and justice.
  2. As citizens, promote and protect human rights and justice through mechanisms available in your country, like national human rights institutions and Offices of the Ombudsperson, and participate in social innovation initiatives to help progressive ideas materialize (like HuriLab)
  3. As representatives of national human rights institutions and Offices of the Ombudsperson, partner effectively with legal aid bodies, bar associations, civil society and grassroots organizations, and stay informed about international tools of human rights protection, such as UN human rights treaty bodies or the Universal Periodic Review.


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