UN to address national human rights institutions

23 Mar 2010

GENEVA -- The UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay will both address the opening of this year’s meeting of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in Geneva on Tuesday.

It is the first time that a UNDP Administrator has taken part in the annual meeting of the NHRIs’ International Coordinating Committee* -- which will be attended by some 150 participants representing over 60 NHRIs from all across the world --  and her presence will strengthen the partnership between UNDP and the UN human rights office in setting up and supporting international  human rights institutions around the world.

The three-day meeting will focus on the NHRIs' role in  monitoring states’ compliance with international human rights obligations and their follow-up to international human rights bodies’ recommendations. It will also cover NHRIs’ involvement in specific issues such as human rights and business, human rights education and training, the protection of women and children’s rights, and human rights in the context of HIV/AIDs.

A National Human Rights Institution is a key body that promotes and monitors protection of human rights in a given country. It is intended to play a unique role in human rights protection, and is neither an NGO nor a government-controlled organization.

More than 100 NHRIs are now in existence, of which 65 have been granted “A Status” – meaning they conform to a set of internationally accepted performance standards known as the “Paris Principles.”

The 23rd session of the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, which is taking place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 23-25 March, will also be addressed by a range of human rights experts including the Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children, Ms. Marta Santos Pais and the Vice Chairperson of the Sub Committee on Prevention of Torture, Mr. Hans Draminsky Peterson.

* The International Coordinating Committee, currently chaired by Ms. Jennifer Lynch Q.C., is a representative body established for the purpose of creating and strengthening NHRIs which are in conformity with the Paris Principles. A formal review of the legislation and performance of NHRIs against the Paris Principles is periodically conducted by the ICC Sub-Committee on Accreditation, with the support of the UN human rights office (OHCHR).

For more information visit OHCHR's website.

More information about OHCHR’s activities on NHRIs and ICC / accreditation can be found in two reports of the UN Secretary-General to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/7/69 and A/HRC/7/70) at
  http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/7session/reports.htm