NHRIs accreditation process

The Paris Principles were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1993. Since that time, the UN calls for every state to establish a NHRI that is compliant with the Paris Principles.

The United Nations’ Principles Relating to the Status of National Institutions (“the Paris Principles”)

These principles set out the minimum standards required by national human rights institutions to be considered credible and operate effectively:

  • Establishment under primary law or the Constitution
  • A broad mandate to promote and protect human rights
  • Formal and functional independence
  • Adequate resources and financial autonomy
  • Freedom to address any human rights issue arising
  • Annual reporting on the national human rights situation
  • Cooperation with national and international actors

The International Coordinating Committee for National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights is the global association of NHRIs. The ICC Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA) uses the Paris Principles to accredit NHRIs according to the degree that they meet the effectiveness criteria.

Classifications used for NHRI accreditation:

  • A status - Compliance with the Paris Principles;
  • B status - Not fully in compliance with the Paris Principles

If NHRIs are accredited with ‘A’ status, they receive participation rights before various UN bodies, including the Human Rights Council.

By regularly reviewing the effectiveness of NHRI’s broad-based mandate anchored in universal human rights standards, their autonomy from government, their independence, pluralism, the adequacy of their resources and of their powers of investigation as their freedom to address any human rights issue arising, this review is critical for the legitimacy and the credibility of NHRI’s work.

After their initial review, NHRIs are reviewed on a periodic basis of 5 years. Accreditation confers international recognition, and protection, of the NHRI. “A status” accreditation also grants participation in the work and decision-making of the ICC, as well as the work of the Human Rights Council and other UN mechanisms.

NHRI Accreditation at a Glance

ENNHRI’s Accreditation support group provides peer support for NHRI establishment and accreditation, focusing on members’ experience from similar national or institutional contexts.