Close sites icon close
Search form

Search for the country site.

Country profile

Country website

Office of the Ombudsperson and Mediator

Office of the Ombudsperson and Mediator

The Ombudsperson (formerly Ombudsman) is the neutral party to provide confidential, impartial, and independent services within the organization to address workplace disputes and conflict informally.
A smiling woman sits at a desk holding up a card that says 'Fairness, justice: You believe that all people have value. You approach situations with an unbiased mindset and treat everyone with respect.'

About us

The Office of the Ombudsperson and Mediator (“the Ombuds’ Office”) provides a safe space to discuss concerns, explore options and assist in finding a suitable outcome to workplace issues. Our services are designed to prevent conflict escalation and to promote fairness in the workplace.

The Ombuds' Office organizes its work around three main pillars:




Read the Standards of Practice for UN System Ombudsman and Mediators – available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Our work

Confidential and impartial

We provide a confidential and neutral space where all members of UNHCR community can informally discuss workplace concerns. We work with the relevant parties to help analyze and better understand the issue at hand. We offer an impartial perspective on the problem, taking no side with any of the parties. We ensure fairness to all parties involved.

Text color
Open communication and dialogue

The Ombuds' Office provides a secure environment for individuals or teams seeking open communication and dialogue. We help those who use our services to gain a better understanding of their specific goals, needs and interests.

Text color
Training and outreach

We aim to prevent and address workplace conflicts before they escalate. Our training programs and workshops cover topics such as:

  • informal conflict management
  • dealing with difficult conversations
  • managing emotions in conflict.
Text color
Identify the root causes of conflict

Based on data, research activities and ongoing stakeholders' interactions, the Ombuds' Office also helps the organization identify the root causes of issues to become conflict competent.

Text color

Our team: focus on people

Text and media 9

We have a team of conflict-resolution specialists from diverse backgrounds who work under the supervision of the UNHCR Ombudsperson and Mediator. What brings us together as a united team is our commitment to act in a fair, neutral, and inclusive manner. We make sure that the needs and requirements of all parties are respected and considered. Located in different UNHCR regions, we assist visitors either virtually or in person.

Our vision is a workplace where everyone is treated with dignity, feels empowered and valued, and can contribute fully to achieve UNHCR's mission.


Who is the service for?

All current and former UNHCR employees can use our services, either as an individual or as a group.


Individual visitors

You may be dealing with administrative decisions or interpersonal disputes. Discuss your concerns with one of our conflict-resolution specialists in a one-to-one, confidential setting. You can decide what is best for you, whether it is a conversation, conflict coaching or mediation.

Groups and teams

There may be situations where a group requests intervention because of internal conflicts. The decision to work with the Office implies the participation of each member of the team to find a solution that is acceptable to all. We help you to restore a collaborative and productive spirit within the team in several steps, and we may recommend a team assessment before engaging in discussions and group facilitation.

Mediation: the informal approach

What is conflict mediation?

Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party assists parties in conflict to share their concerns without prejudice or bias. It is voluntary, meaning that both sides are willing to engage in it. The parties may choose not to meet face-to-face during the mediation. The aim is to reach an agreement that is agreed by all parties.

Mediator’s role

The mediator's role is to guide the conversation and encourage open discussion and dialogue. Remaining neutral, the mediator does not favor any party. Fairness is central to their duties, with a commitment to achieving a positive resolution. The mediator assists parties in identifying possible options to the conflict.

The benefits of mediation

Mediation is acknowledged and encouraged by the UN General Assembly as the “informal first" option for the resolution of disputes and conflicts1. It should be the preferred approach before the use of formal procedures. Mediation is a cost- and time-saving process that helps individuals and teams to find solutions to their problems. We believe that collaboration is important for success. It makes the organization stronger and more effective.

See resolution A/RES/78/248.

Contact us

Reach out to [email protected] for assistance or to make an appointment.