UN Human Rights Funding: Your Tax Dollars at Work?

In 2012, leading democracies contributed tens of millions of dollars to the UN human rights system, through funding allocated from the general budget and additional voluntary contributions given by each country to the Office of the  High Commissioner for Human Rights:
United States: $31,273,996
United Kingdom: $11,708,747
Germany: $13,277,191
France: $7,806,841
Italy: $4,193,394
Netherlands: $13,727,350
Canada: $7,572,973
European Commission: $7,152,139

(Source: OHCHR Report 2012)

While some of these funds are well spent on UN mandates that legitimately speak out for victims of torture or repression, according to an internal UN chart entitled “Financial implications of recent HRC resolutions by type of mandate” — publicized here for the first time — millions of dollars are being wasted by the UN human rights system to fund questionable mandates that either have no connection to individual human rights or, worse, are designed by countries such as Cuba as political mechanisms to attack democracies:


  • Human Rights and the environment (new Independent Expert mandate w/consult.) $3,275,200
  • Special Rapporteur on cultural rights (mandate extension) $1,474,200
  • Promotion of democratic & equitable international order (new Independent Expert mandate) $1,583,400 (Initiated by Cuba)
  • Rights of peasants/rural workers (new Inter-Governmental Working Group, per year) $252,900
  • UN Declaration on Right to Peace (new Inter-Governmental Working Group, per year) $329,300 (Initiated by Cuba)
  • Working Group on People of African descent (mandate extension, per year) $388,600
  • Human Rights & transnational corps. (new Working Group / Forum, per year) $2,365,200
  • Israeli settlements in the OPT (new Fact Finding Mission mandate) $290,000
  • Cultural rights/cultural diversity (seminar and report) $181,900 (Initiated by Cuba)
  • Human rights & unilateral coercive measures (workshop/report) $287,900 (Initiated by Cuba)
  • Human rights and international solidarity (workshop) $286,200 (Initiated by Cuba)

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