Human Rights

Young people sat at a table full of sheets, all have HuriLab blue shirts, smiling at the camera
Activists, citizens and geeks from eight countries designed projects (in 48 hours!) for improving and protecting human rights

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:

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 amendment of 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 - let us know if you know of any similar projects, we'll put them on the map!)
  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.