High Commissioner for Human Rights
1. United Nations Programme for Reform
One of the principal purposes of the United Nations, as set out in the United Nations Charter, is to promote and
encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language,
or religion. There has been a marked shift in recent years in the United Nations approach to human rights. The 1993
Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action called upon all agencies of the United Nations to commit themselves to
the formulation, promotion and implementation of human rights. On 14 July 1997, the United Nations
Secretary-General launched a Programme for Reform which recognized that human rights cut across all programmes and
activities of the United Nations system. The core human rights objectives of the Pro- gramme for Reform are set out
in the excerpt below.
The Programme for Reform affirmed the importance of human rights in cut- ting across the four key fields of United
Nations work – peace and security; economic and social affairs; development cooperation; and humanitarian affairs.
These four areas are each covered by an Executive Committee. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human
Rights participates in the