National Human Rights Institutions to Discuss Increasing Human Rights Protection as Well as Poverty and Business Practices
Wednesday, April 30, 2008 12:40 PM

United Nations
Press Release
National human rights institutions to discuss increasing human rights protection as well as poverty and business practices
15 April

GENEVA—Poverty reduction and the human rights implications of the ways businesses operate are among a wide range of issues that will be discussed from 14-18 April as over 144 delegates from 62 national human rights institutions gather in Geneva for their annual meeting.

Participants attending the 20th session of the national human rights institutions' International Coordinating Committee (ICC) will also take stock of major achievements and challenges over the past year, as well as ways to further enhance human rights protection.

National human rights institutions are state entities whose role is to monitor and promote human rights in a particular country. An increasing number of them operate under the so-called 'Paris Principles,' a set of internationally accepted performance standards regulating various aspects of their work, including their responsibilities and methods (contained in UN GA resolution 48/134).

Of the 62 national institutions attending the ICC meeting this year, 21 are from Europe, 18 from Africa, 14 from the Asia-Pacific region and 9 from the Americas.

The ICC – a representative body established for the purpose of creating and strengthening national human rights institutions – meets to discuss specific human rights issues, and twice a year its subcommittee on accreditation reviews the performance of accredited institutions or the status of new institutions. Some 60 national human rights institutions have now been accorded 'A Status' under this system which means they comply with the Paris Principles.

"We have achieved significant successes this past year because we are internationally respected for our rigorous, transparent and independent accreditation processes," said ICC Chair Jennifer Lynch, Q.C., Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Among recent successes, she noted the UN Human Rights Council's granting of full accreditation to the ICC, its national human rights institution members and their regional coordinating bodies. She also said the level of collaboration between the national institutions and the ICC regional coordinating bodies has been strengthened, and that the ICC has bolstered its position within the UN human rights framework by placing a representative in Geneva.

More information on NHRIs and the ICC accreditation process may be found in the Secretary-General's reports to the last session of the HRC no 69 and 70.

List of participants

Published in: "National Human Rights Institutions to Discuss Increasing Human Rights Protection as Well as Poverty and Business Practices," Press Release, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 15 April 2008.