Human rights are at the heart of multilateralism and are a strong component of the United Nations system. In the context of declining support for multilateral institutions, the EU remains a staunch defender of effective multilateralism and the rules-based international order, which is critical to respond successfully to global challenges.

The EU is a leader in the universal promotion and protection of human rights at multilateral level, mainly through the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly Third Committee. The EU also actively supports the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Council of Europe (CoE), the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), specialised UN agencies, and other organisations such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The EU supports UN human rights mechanisms for human rights protection and standard-setting and the reporting, monitoring and denouncing of human rights violations, such as thematic and country-specific statements and resolutions, commissions of inquiry, fact-finding missions, other Special Procedures and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The EU aims for cross-regional cooperation with like-minded partners worldwide in order to ensure wide support and successful implementation.