The present objectives of the programme of advisory and technical assistance implemented by the Centre for Human Rights result predominantly from the [Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action] and are oriented towards: facilitating the process of ratification or accession to international human rights instruments; assisting legislative reforms bringing national laws into line with international human rights standards; assisting states in implementing the recommendations of human rights treaty bodies; the protection of groups rendered vulnerable, such as minorities, indigenous people, women, children, migrant workers, disabled persons, refugees and displaced persons; strengthening the rule of law and democratic institutions, assistance to the judiciary, including training in the administration of justice and police officials as an important element for improving the observance of human rights, as well as of human rights aspects of electoral assistance; assisting states in meeting their reporting obligations under the various human rights treaties. The Centre also assists in the elaboration of national plans of action in the field of human rights, which are supported by the programme of technical assistance. In an increasing number of states, comprehensive country programmes are being carried out in the framework of advisory services and technical assistance.
The coordination of advisory services programmes in the field of human rights is the responsibility of the High Commissioner and the Centre for Human Rights. The latter is a focal point and a clearing house for requests by member states for technical cooperation in the field of human rights. The High Commissioner developed his vision of a new and enhanced partnership with relevant human rights institutions and NGOs in the implementation of technical assistance programmes. He underlined the availability of the advisory services and technical assistance to the whole human rights constituency, including national institutions, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and grass-roots organizations. Furthermore, non-governmental organizations and academic institutions are expected to contribute to the advisory services and technical assistance programme, if their capacities permit it. In the context of the transition in Haiti, the General Assembly, in its resolution 49/201, requested the Secretary-General, through the High Commissioner and the Centre for Human Rights, to take appropriate steps for the urgent establishment, in conjunction with the International Civilian Mission to Haiti, of a special programme of assistance to the government and people of Haiti in their efforts to ensure the observance of human rights. Appropriate preparatory steps, especially with regard to financial and human resources, are being taken. Multidimensional programmes of-advisory services and technical assistance are conducted by the Centre for Human Rights in the Eastern and Central European countries which are in transition from authoritarian to democratic rule. They range from constitutional and legislative assistance; human rights training in the administration of justice, for teachers, police and prison administrators; assistance for parliamentarians, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations, to assistance in human rights aspects of the electoral process. The High Commissioner discussed advisory services and technical assistance programmes in particular during his visits to Burundi, Bhutan, Cambodia, Colombia, Cuba, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malawi and Nepal.