Australia leads Human Rights Council to break new ground on NHRI participation

In a ground-breaking resolution, the United Nation’s premier human rights forum, the Human Rights Council, has called for Paris Principles-compliant national human rights institutions (NHRIs) to be able to participate in other UN meetings and forums, including the UN General Assembly. Led by the Australian Permanent Mission inGeneva, the resolution was co-sponsored by more than 100 States and enjoyed consensus support at the Council’s 20th session, held inGenevafrom 18 June to 6 July 2012.

“The resolution affirms the critical importance of NHRIs and the valuable contribution they make to the international human rights system,” said Benjamin Lee, who represented the APF at the meeting.

“Further, the recommendation that NHRIs be given participation opportunities in meetings of the General Assembly and other UN bodies reflects the high level of international support that NHRIs enjoy,” he said.

“If implemented, it would mean that NHRIs could contribute their independent expertise to human rights discussions and inform policy development in a much broader range of settings.”

In addition, the Council’s resolution:

  • welcomed the strengthening of contribution opportunities for ParisPrinciples-compliant NHRIs at the Council via the Human Rights Council’s five-year review
  • welcomed the contribution of NHRIs to the ongoing treaty body strengthening process
  • welcomed the UN Secretary-General’s recognition of the contributions that ParisPrinciples-compliant NHRIs have made to the work of the Commission on the Status of Women, the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing
  • welcomed the efforts of the Secretary-General to encourage NHRIs to continue to interact with and advocate for independent participation in all relevant UN mechanisms
  • expressed appreciation for the work of regional bodies of NHRIs, including the APF.

The APF and the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC) contributed to the development of the resolution and were present for its adoption by the Council.