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UN resolution recognises ‘added value’ of NHRIs

Graphic: UN plaque outside New York headquarters

The UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution calling for greater participation of NHRIs in all relevant UN bodies and mechanisms.

Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions LogoGlobal Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions
Asia Pacific Forum LogoAsia Pacific Forum

The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution calling for greater participation of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in all relevant UN mechanisms, bodies, forums and meetings.

The resolution – initially adopted at the Third Committee on 7 November 2017, with the support of 90 States – highlighted the important contribution that NHRIs have made and continue to make to the international human rights system.

Speaking at the adoption of the resolution at the Third Committee, Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany Ambassador Jürgen Schulz, as main sponsor of the resolution, said that "the resolution recognizes that the added value of NHRIs in the international human rights system extends beyond the Human Rights Council in Geneva".

The NHRI resolution acknowledged the progress that has been made to include NHRIs in the work of UN bodies and processes in New York, including with the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing, the Global Compact on Migration and the Commission on the Status of Women.

The APF, in partnership with the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) has played a key role in driving advocacy for the independent participation of NHRIs in the mechanisms of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Importantly, the resolution also stated that NHRIs should not face reprisals or intimidation for undertaking work in accordance with their mandate.

In holding their governments accountable for their commitments under international human rights law, NHRIs and their leadership teams have experienced sustained criticism from political leaders, legal proceedings against Commission members and cuts to their budgets

This issue was a key area of discussion at the GANHRI bureau meeting in Costa Rica in November 2017.

At the meeting, the APF expressed its grave concern at attacks and reprisals against NHRIs in the Asia Pacific, including the NHRIs of Australia, Afghanistan, Malaysia, the Maldives and the Philippines.

These challenges will be explored in greater detail when GANHRI hosts its 13th International Conference in late 2018 on the theme of shrinking democratic space and human rights defenders.

Read the full resolution on NHRIs (A/RES/72/181) adopted by the UN General Assembly.

Date: 3 January 2018


Image credits

  1. UN plaque outside New York headquarters - APF/James Iliffe