About the Welcome Desk

Role of the Welcome Desk

An Advocacy Advisory Service for Global South NGOs at the UN Human Rights Council

  • To support delegates in their interaction with the UN Human Rights mechanisms;
  • To promote contacts between different organizations;
  • To facilitate sharing of and access to information;
  • To facilitate their stay in Geneva by providing practical information.

The NGO Welcome Desk primarily facilitates the participation of civil society at the UN Human Rights Council. We work with you, focusing on your individual needs and providing tailor-made information adapted to your advocacy goals and knowledge of the system. We are neutral and apolitical, and will help you in any capacity.

In 2013, we answered 8’001 requests from 6’095 visitors, increasing efficiency by 35%. During the 26th session of the Human Rights Council, the Desk received 252 requests per day, making it one of the busiest sessions since its creation in 2007.
23% of these requests concerns Human Rights in general, while 41,5% are about the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms and contacts with other NGOs and IOs; but we also answer questions about orientation and transportation (11,5%) and cultural and social activities in Geneva (4%).

Overall, we’ve answered 69’449 requests from 54’203 visitors. We’ve distributed more than 130’000 documents, and over the past three years, demand has increased by more than 30%.

The Welcome Desk operates on a voluntary basis and is managed by the Geneva-based foundation Mandat International in coordination the Secretariat and Presidency of the Human Rights Council and the United Nations Office at Geneva. Mandat International holds special consultative status with ECOSOC and has 15 years of experience in supporting non-governmental delegates.

Location and Opening Hours

During Sessions

We are present in the United Nations premises during all normal sessions and Universal Periodic Review working group sessions of the Human Rights Council.
Location : Next to the Serpentine Bar at Palais des Nations (Building E, door 40, downstairs) from 9:15 am - 6:00 pm.

Sessions of the Human Rights Council in 2014

27 January - 7 February 18th Session of the Universal Periodic Review
3 March - 28 March 25th Session of the Human Rights Council
28 April - 9 May 19th Session of the Universal Periodic Review
10 June - 27 June 26th Session of the Human Rights Council
8 September - 26 September 27th Session of the Human Rights Council
27 October - 7 November 20th Session of the Universal Periodic Review

These dates are indicative. Due to the nature of these conferences, dates may be changed any time, without prior notice.

Off sessions

Requests are answered by phone, email, and in person.
You can find us during office hours at Chemin du Champ-Baron 3, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland.