Skip to main content
Policy and methodological publications

National Human Rights Institutions: History, Principles, Roles and Responsibilities


01 January 2010


National institutions and mechanisms

This publication introduces the reader to national human rights institutions. Its focus is on these institutions as both cornerstones of national human rights protection and promotion, and links between States and the international human rights system. Respect for human rights requires the concerted effort of every Government, individual, group and organ in society. The publication is intended for all those who seek a basic understanding of national human rights institutions, the work they do, how they interact with States, civil society and the international community, and how to support their work. The publication describes the context and systems in which national human rights institutions operate, including the national, regional and international human rights systems, and the special importance of these institutions at all these levels; clearly explains what a national human rights institution is and the different models that exist, as well as the roles of these institutions; explains their role in promoting human rights and advising Governments and legislatures; explains their role in protecting human rights (monitoring, investigations, inquiries and alternative dispute resolution), including by ensuring greater respect for the rule of law; and identifies key challenges and opportunities for supporting national human rights institutions in the pre-establishment, establishment and strengthening phases of their development.





Print format:

A4 soft cover

Sales number: