OHCHR and NHRIs
Paris Principles compliant NHRIs stand out as partners that are central to national human rights protection systems and are important counterparts for OHCHR. They can play a crucial role in promoting and monitoring the effective implementation of international human rights standards at the national level; a role which is increasingly recognized by the international community.
OHCHR especially supports NHRIs to center their work on core protection issues, such as the prevention of torture and degrading treatment, summary executions, arbitrary detention and disappearances, or the protection of human rights defenders. NHRIs can, and should, play a role in advancing all aspects of the rule of law, including with regard to the judiciary, law enforcement agencies and the correctional system.
The following link provides access to the latest Secretary-General's report to the General Assembly on national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights; A/66/274
(E F S A C R).
The following link provides access to the latest Secretary-General's report to the Human Rights Council on NHRIs, giving a detailed account of OHCHR's activities, including implemented in partnership with other networks and institutions; A/HRC/16/76 (E F S A C R).
The following link provides access to the latest Secretary-General's report to the General Assembly on the role of the Ombudsman, mediator and other national human rights institutions in the promotion and protection of human rights; A/65/340 (E F S A C R).
OHCHR National Institutions and Regional Mechanisms Section
The National Institutions and Regional Mechanisms Section (NIRMS) is the main entry point for OHCHR's efforts for the establishment and strengthening of NHRIs, as well as for the cooperation with NHRIs.
Relevant UN resolutions
Over the past two decades, the United Nations General Assembly and other bodies have issued resolutions of relevance to NHRIs:
- GA resolution 48/134 (the Paris Principles are as annex)
- CHR resolution 2005/74
- HRC resolution 5/1 (Human Rights Council Institutions Building Package – note “Rules of Procedure - Rule 7”
- GA resolution A/RES/63/169 (The role of the Ombudsman, mediator and other national human rights institutions in the promotion and protection of human rights The role of the Ombudsman, mediator and other national human rights institutions in the promotion and protection of human rights)
- GA resolution A/RES/63/172 (National institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights)
- GA resolution A/RES/64/161 (National institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights)
- GA resolution A/RES/65/207 (The role of the Ombudsman, mediator and other national human rights institutions in the promotion and protection of human rights)
The International Coordinating Committee of NHRIs (ICC)
At the International Conference held in Tunis in 1993, NHRIs established the International Coordinating Committee of NHRIs (ICC) with the aim to coordinate the activities of the NHRI network. In 1998, rules of procedures were developed for the ICC and its membership was enlarged to 16 members, four from each of the geographical regions. At that same meeting, the ICC resolved to create a process for accrediting institutions. In 2008, the ICC discussed governance issues, including incorporation of the ICC in order to better cope with the changing environment including the role of NHRIs in the international human rights system. The ICC decided to incorporate itself as a legal entity under Swiss law, with a Bureau of 16 voting members representing the four regions of the ICC (“A status” NHRIs). The ICC also decided to streamline rules of procedures and to clearly define its membership and the role and governance of its annual meeting and international conferences. In 2009, the ICC discussed matters related to the Committee’s governance working group and the working group on sustainable funding and the Subcommittee on Accreditation; as well as inter alia issues related to the implementation of the Nairobi Declaration, the Durban Review Conference and the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
General Meetings of the ICC, meetings of the ICC Bureau and of the Sub-Committee on Accreditation, as well as International Conferences of the ICC are held under the auspices of, and in cooperation with, OHCHR.
The Bureau consists of the following NHRIs:
the New Zealand Human Rights Commission ( ICC Chair ) http://www.hrc.co.nz
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights ( ICC Secretary ) http://www.knchr.org/
the Conseil Consultatif des Droits de L’Homme du Maroc http://www.ccdh.org.ma Chair of the African Network of NHRIs
South African Human Rights Commission http://www.sahrc.org.za/
National Commission for Human Rights of Togo http://www.cndh-togo.org •
Comisión Nacional para los Derechos Humanos of Mexico http://www.cndh.org.mx
Ombudsman of Ecuador http://www.dlh.lahora.com.ec/paginas/judicial/PAGINAS/Defensoria.base.htm Chair of the NHRIs of the Americas
Procuraduria de Defensa de los Derechos Humanos of El Salvador
Defensoría del Pueblo de la Nación Argentina http://www.defensor.gov.ar
Australian Human Rights Commission http://www.hreoc.gov.au/ Chair of the Asia Pacific Network of NHRIs
National Human Rights Commission of India http://nhrc.nic.in
National Centre for Human Rights of Jordan http://www.nchr.org.jo/
Scottish Human Rights Commission http://www.scottishhumanrights.com/ Chair of the European Group of NHRIs
the Commission consultative des droits de l'homme of Luxembourg http://www.ccdh.lu
German Institute for Human Rights http://www.institut-fuer-menschenrechte.de
the Office of the Ombudsman of Croatia http://www.ombudsman.hr/
Regional coordinating bodies include
Permanent Secretariat of the Network of African NHRIs
Mr. Gilbert Sebihogo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Network of the NHRIs of the Americas
Mr. Fernando Gutiérrez Vera email@example.com
Asia Pacfic Forum http://www.asiapacificforum.net/
Mr. Kieren Fitzpatrick (firstname.lastname@example.org)
European Group of NHRIs
Mr. Allan Miller email@example.com
Accreditation of NHRIs
The Sub‑Committee on Accreditation (SCA) of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC) has the mandate to review and analyze accreditation applications and to make recommendations to ICC Bureau members on the compliance of applicants with the Paris Principles. The SCA is composed of one “A status” accredited NHRI for each of the four regional groupings; namely Africa, the Americas , the Asia Pacific, and Europe . Members of the SCA are appointed by the regional groupings for a renewable term of three years. OHCHR participates in the work of the SCA as a permanent observer and in its capacity as ICC secretariat.
As at August 2011, there were 70 NHRIs accredited with A Status by the ICC , i.e. in compliance with the Paris Principles. The following link provides access to the calendar of ICC accreditation reviews (2009-2013). Summaries of NHRIs that have undergone accreditation in the past are all available through http://nhri.ohchr.org.
The latest reports from the Subcommittee on Accreditation are available through http://www.nhri.net/default.asp?PID=607&DID=0)
The following link provides access to the latest Secretary-General's report to the Human Rights Council on the accreditation process; A/HRC/16/77 (E F S A C R)
9th International Conference of NHRIs
"The 9th International Conference for National Human Rights Institutions was held in Nairobi , Kenya , from 21 to 24 October 2008. The Conference was hosted, organized, and supported by OHCHR, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, and the ICC. The event also benefited from the support of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, the Swedish International Development Corporation Agency (SIDA) and UNDP. Participants at the Conference included over 120 representatives of NHRIs world-wide, as well as regional coordinating bodies of NHRIs, NGOs, and international human rights experts. Several events were also organized in parallel to the Conference.
The overall theme of the Conference was “National Human Rights Institutions and the Administration of Justice”. The Conference unanimously adopted the Nairobi Declaration (E F S), which provides NHRIs with guidelines in performing their role in the administration of justice."
10th International Conference of NHRIs
The 10th International Conference of National Human Rights Institutions on the theme of "Business and Human Rights: the Role of NHRIs" was held in Edinburgh, Scotland, from 8 to 10 October 2010. The conference was organized by OHCHR, the Scottish Human Rights Commission, the ICC and the Scottish Parliament. The Conference adopted the Edinburgh Declaration (E F S A).
The Conference was attended by more than 250 delegates from NHRIs, business, NGOs, academia and intergovernmental organizations.
Participants emphasized the need to work collaborative with the Special Representative on human rights and transnational corporation and other business enterprises, including by promoting the advancement of his "Protect, Respect, Remedy" framework. The NHRIs committed themselves to carry out concrete activities, such as the creation of focal points, supporting victims of corporate abuses and empowering human rights defenders and civil society participation in business and human rights.
The Conference was preceded by an NGO Forum that gathered some 50 NGOs from all around the world. The NGO Forum adopted an NGOs' statement (E).
Guidance notes for NHRIs
NHRIs have clearly defined roles and opportunities to participate in the international human rights system and to follow-up to results and recommendations at the national level. The following links contain short guidance notes for NHRIs stipulating their different roles; (1) United Nations human rights treaty bodies (E F S); (2) the UPR mechanism of the Human Rights Council; and (3) Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.
Fellowship for NHRI staff
In 2008, the National Institutions and Regional Mechanisms Section of OHCHR introduced a fellowship programme and issued new calls for candidates for 2009 and 2010. Through this programme, “A status” NHRI staff members are selected to work in NIRMS for six months in order to gain knowledge of and experience with the United Nations human rights system. This fellowship programme is beneficial for OHCHR, both in terms of substantive expertise as well as through the consolidation of direct contacts with NHRI staff globally. More information can be found through the following link: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/FellowshipNHRIStaff.aspx
Since 2011, OHCHR maintains the official website of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (http://nhri.ohchr.org) The site includes global, regional and country information and thematic issues of interest to NHRIs.