APF Community Contact us

Engaging with the international human rights system

Graphic: President of Australian Human Rights Commission speaking at meeting in Geneva

National human rights institutions (NHRIs) are increasingly engaging with international bodies and mechanisms, such as the UN Human Rights Council, its Universal Periodic Review and the human rights treaty bodies.

To operate successfully in the international human rights system, NHRIs need a clear understanding of the roles, functions and processes of the different bodies and mechanisms, as well as the skills required to engage effectively with them.

This training program provides APF members with an overview of the development of international human rights law, how the human rights commitments made by State are monitored and the practical steps that NHRIs can take to contribute to regional and international human rights systems.

It also looks at the international standards that apply to NHRIs and the factors that can strengthen the independence and effectiveness of their work at a national level.

The training program uses a wide range of learning activities, such as role-plays, debates, group discussions and case studies, to build a core set of knowledge and skills.

The International Human Rights Systems training program was initially developed and run in collaboration with the International Service for Human Rights. Since 2009, it has been delivered by the APF.

Graphic: Woman walking past flags at UN in Geneva

International Human Rights and the International Human Rights System: A Manual for NHRIs

This manual outlines the practical ways that NHRIs can engage with the international human rights system to highlight issues and advocate for change.

Previous programs

Workshop for South Asia NHRIs, June 2010

Hosted by the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives and included participants from the NHRIs of India, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, along with the newly established National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh and a representative from the Ministry of Human Rights of Pakistan.

Workshop for South-East Asia NHRIs, April 2009

Hosted by the Philippines Commission on Human Rights and included participants from the NHRIs of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Workshop for West Asia NHRIs, December 2006

Hosted by the Jordan National Centre for Human Rights and included participants from the NHRIs of Afghanistan, Jordan, Palestine and Qatar.


NHRIs take part in accreditation workshop held in Manila

25 Mar 2024  
Intl. engage

NHRIs of Australia and Nepal maintain ‘A status’ accreditation

06 Feb 2024  
Intl. engage

APF people profile: Phillip Wardle, Legal and Policy Manager

25 Jan 2024  
DefendersIntl. engage

APF provides strategic planning support to the Ombudsman’s Office of Turkmenistan

25 Oct 2023  
More articles

Image credits

  1. President of Australian Human Rights Commission speaking at meeting in Geneva - APF/Michael Power