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Abstract

This chapter discusses the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The High Commissioner's Office is much more than the secretariat of the Human Rights Council and the other UN human rights bodies. The High Commissioner's Office conducts fact-finding, engages with governments, develops policies for the UN system as a whole, monitors situations around the world, and the High Commissioner himself or herself often speaks out to condemn policies and practices. Inevitably this means suggesting a course of action for the member states and other parts of the UN system that those actors may be resistant to. The chapter then outlines the development of the Office and highlights some of the achievements while pointing to the obstacles that any High Commissioner has to overcome.

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