Supporting National Human Rights Institutions

National Human Rights Institutions are the cornerstone of national human rights systems and play a vital role in promotion and protection of human rights.  

Human rights are universal, indivisible and inherent to every human being. To protect and promote these rights, national human rights institutions (NHRIs) work with governments, civil society and global partners to address local challenges and promote just and inclusive societies by upholding human rights principles and standards.  

Our Strategy 09_2020_UNDP_Puntland Rule of Law and Human Rights ROLHR

A lawyer speaks with her client during a free legal aid session. Garowe, Puntland (Somalia), 2020.

UNDP Somalia

As independent state bodies with a broad mandate for the promotion and protection of human rights, NHRIs are a cornerstone of the national human rights system. When they are compliant with the ‘Paris Principles’ NHRIs act as an important ‘bridge’ within a society – bringing government, parliament, other state entities, civil society organizations and populations together to foster transformative change.  The presence of a Paris Principles compliant NHRI is an indicator of sustainable development in Goal 16 of the SDG framework and NHRIs also play an important role in monitoring and reporting on the human rights implications of climate change and advising governments and other stake holders on the implementation of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment.

UNDP has provided support to strengthen Paris Principles compliant NHRIs in over 100 countries around the world - as essential actors in advancing human rights, ensuring rights-based implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and to help sustain peace.  A key component of this support is through the TriPartite Partnership to Support National Human Rights Institutions.  


Focal Points

Sarah Rattray  
Senior Advisor on Human Rights

Chelsea Shelton 
UNDP Human Rights Programme Specialist

Explore all human rights focus areas

Human Rights
2019 ROLHR cover