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Supporting the establishment of national human rights institutions

Graphic: Staff of Samoa's national human rights institution

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights LogoOffice of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Development Programme LogoUnited Nations Development Programme
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat LogoPacific Islands Forum Secretariat

With almost two thirds of the global population stretching a third of the way around the globe, the Asia Pacific is the most diverse and populous region in the world.

Unlike all other regional groupings, however, it does not have a comprehensive intergovernmental system to monitor, promote and protect human rights.

This makes the role of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in the Asia Pacific even more critical. Their role is to promote and protect fundamental human rights at the country level.

For some people, NHRIs are the first and only avenue where they can seek justice.

The APF plays a pivotal role in helping establish independent and effective NHRIs.

We do this by providing advice and legal drafting assistance to the governments and parliaments of Afghanistan, Fiji, Jordan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Tuvalu on the creation of their NHRIs.

We organise scoping visits with partners in the region when governments are considering the establishment of an NHRI. Most recently this has involved visits to the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru and Vanuatu.

The APF also responds to requests for advice from governments and civil society on the role, function, establishment and accreditation of NHRIs. This has included Cambodia, China, Iraq, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Our goal is to ensure that new NHRIs are established in compliance with the international standards set out in the Paris Principles.

The APF has developed guidelines to assist governments and civil society in the process of establishing NHRIs.


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Image credits

  1. Staff of Samoa's national human rights institution - APF/Steve Percival