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United Nations to break new ground on NHRI participation’

23 November 2015, New York, Geneva, -- In a ground-breaking resolution (A/RES/70/163), the United Nations General Assembly's Third Committee has called on all relevant UN processes and mechanisms to enhance the participation and contributions of Paris Principles compliant national human rights institutions (NHRIs) to their work.

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Led by Germany's Permanent Mission in New York, the resolution was adopted without vote at today's meeting of the Third Committee. The resolution enjoys broad consensus with the co-sponsorship of 90 States form across all regions, and support from civil society alike.

Introducing the resolution prior to its adoption, His Excellency Ambassador Braun of Germany commented that “The resolution shifts the discussions on the participation of NHRIs in the United Nations system from “if” to “how”. For the first time the General Assembly actively encourages UN processes and mechanisms both to enhance the participation of NHRIs and to allow for their contribution”.

Ambassador Braun further stated that “This resolution recognizes and encourages that NHRIs are key players in bridging the gap between the national and international human rights systems, and in translating the resolutions adopted in this committee into effective actions on the ground. NHRIs now need to actively make use and demand the implementation of the strong language in this resolution”.

In addition, the NHRI resolution:

  • reaffirms the importance of effective, independent and pluralistic Paris Principles-compliant NHRIs and calls on all states to establish and strengthen such institutions

  • stresses that NHRIs should not be subject to any cases of reprisals and calls on all member states to promptly and thoroughly investigate any such cases

  • welcomes the contributions of NHRIs to the work of the United Nations and encourages the Secretary-General and all UN agencies to continue to support NHRI participation at the UN

  • expresses appreciation for the work of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC) and its four regional networks

ICC Chairperson Adv. Lourence Mabedle Mushwana celebrated the adoption of the resolution as a “landmark step forward in enabling NHRIs to participate in their independent capacity in all relevant UN fora”.

“This resolution sends an authoritative and unequivocal indication that NHRIs and the unique voice they bring to UN fora are indeed welcome and valued. In cooperation with all relevant stakeholders, the ICC now looks now forward to the implementation of this resolution by promoting the development of suitable modalities that will enable NHRIs' most effective contributions to the UN's work.”

ICC Chairperson Mushwana thanked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, UN member states and NGOs for their contributions to, and support of, this important initiative. He expressed particular appreciation to Germany as the resolution's main sponsor for the consultative and transparent approach during the resolution consultations and acknowledged all ICC member institutions for their important outreach activities.

The Germany-led resolution was initiated at the Third Committee and builds on a landmarkreport on NHRIs from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and which recommended the development of modalities to enable the participation of Paris Principles compliant NHRIs and their coordinating networks in the General Assembly and its subsidiary bodies and working groups on the basis of practices and arrangements for NHRI participation at the Human Rights Council.

The ICC with the support of its regional networks and member institutions across all regions contributed to the development of the resolution and set out key recommendations in the ICC Position Paper.

The resolution enjoys the support from NGOs particularly the International Service for Human Rights,​ alike.

The resolution will be presented for adoption by the General Assembly in mid-December.

For further information please contact, Katharina Rose, ICC Geneva Representative, k.rose.icc@gmail.com 

​UN Photo/John Isaac  

GA Resolution on ​NHRIs A/RES/70/163​ Arabic English  French Spanish
 
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United Nations Secretary-General calls on member states to open further avenues for NHRI contributions to the United Nations


Geneva, New York, Johannesburg – 29 September 2015. In a report to the 70
th General Assembly, the United Nations Secretary-General has called on member states to open further avenues for NHRI contributions to the United Nations, including the General Assembly and its mechanisms an processes and the Economic and Social Council and its sub-bodies such as the Commission on the Status of Women.

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Commissioned by the General Assembly in its 2013 resolution on national human rights institutions (resolution A/68/171), the Secretary-General's report focuses on the current practices of NHRI participation at the United Nations and sets out authoritative conclusions and recommendations to members states, NHRIs and UN agencies, aimed at further extending participation opportunities for Paris Principles compliant NHRIs and their coordinating committees in their own independent capacity within the broader UN system.

The Secretary-General recommends in particular to member states that

•                     The participation of national human rights institutions fully compliant with the Paris Principles, as well as their coordinating bodies, in the General Assembly and its subsidiary bodies and working groups, as well as in the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary bodies and working groups, including the Commission on the Status of Women, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the processes related to the post-2015 sustainable development goals, should be considered, on the basis of the modalities for national institutions’ participation in the Human Rights Council. Similar modalities could apply in conferences of States parties to human rights treaties, particularly the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. National institutions could be authorized to provide written contributions and to intervene orally.

•                     The development by each of the relevant United Nations Processes and mechanisms of their own modalities for the effective and independent participation of institutions compliant with the Paris Principles should be supported.

The report also encourages NHRIs to continue to advocate their independent participation in relevant United Nations mechanisms and processes, including the post-2015 development agenda.

The Secretary-General's report's findings, conclusions and recommendations coincide with the ICC's endorsed position​ as outlined in the ICC Position Paper, and provides an authoritative statement of support.

UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras​ 

“I welcome this historic report. If implemented, the Secretary-General's recommendations will help ensure that the United Nations can maximise its ability to draw on the unique expertise that NHRIs can offer to its work. This in turn will help mainstream human rights into the work of the United Nations, for human rights are central pillars of the UN, next to peace and security, and development” commented ICC Chairperson Adv. Mabedle Lawrence Mushwana.

The ICC together with regional coordinating bodies and its members is actively engaging with member state and other key players, to advocate for support for broadening Paris Principles compliant NHRI participation opportunities in line with the ICC proposals and the Secretary-General's recommendations.

​Report A/70/347 English French Spanish
Arabic
 


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General Assembly has historic opportunity to broaden NHRI participation as United Nations celebrate its 70th anniversary
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Geneva, Johannesburg - 7 September 2015 -- National human rights institutions (NHRIs) are unique bodies. Established by States with a broad human rights mandate, they work to translate international human rights standards into lived realities for people on the ground. They are subjected to a rigorous internationally recognised accreditation system, based on the UN Paris Principles, to ensure their independence, accountability, pluralism and impartiality.

 

NHRIs provide an important bridge to close the critical implementation gap between UN human rights standards, and their realisation at national and local levels. They are considered as legitimate and credible partners to report the UN the human rights situation on the ground; and to follow-up on, and promote implementation of, UN standards and recommendations in-country.

UN Member States - individually and collectively at General Assembly and Human Rights Council level - have continuously acknowledged and further encouraged the positive contributions of Paris Principles compliant national human rights institutions across the work of the UN.

Against this background later this month Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will present to the General Assembly a report on NHRIs and the feasibility of broadening opportunities for NHRI participation in relevant UN fora. The report which was commissioned by the December 2013 General Assembly resolution68/171 will inform a possible decision by resolution by the General Assembly during its forthcoming 70th session.

UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferre​

The ICC believes that the General Assembly will have a historic opportunity to maximise the UN's ability to draw on the authoritative expertise and experience which NHRIs can offer. This in turn will help strengthen the UN's ability to effectively address and respond to human rights situations on the ground.

By making the UN more accessible to NHRIs which work to represent rights-holders across jurisdictions, the UN will also increase its linkages to the people and national and local levels, implementing the very principle of “we the peoples”. 
The ICC has developed the ICC position paper, which sets out ICC views in relation to NHRI participation at the UN.

The paper contains the following six (6) key messages:
  • NHRI cooperation with the UN is a requirement under the Paris Principles; and effective NHRI engagement with the UN can help translate international human rights standards into lived realities on the ground;
  • UN member states - individually and collectively at General Assembly and Human Rights Council level - have continuously acknowledged and further encouraged the positive contributions of Paris Principles compliant national human rights institutions across the work of the UN;
  • NHRIs have welcomed this acknowledgment and increasingly contribute to relevant UN mechanisms and processes;
  • NHRIs enjoy participation rights with a number of UN bodies, whilst in other relevant bodies suitable and acceptable modalities for NHRI participation remain to be determined. These include: the Commission on the Status of Women, the Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Working Group on Ageing, and the post 2015 development agenda processes including the High-Level Political Forum;
  • Owing to their unique status and established practice at the UN Human Rights Council, NHRIs that comply with the Paris Principles should be granted independent participation rights, that are distinct from those of states and NGOs, and should enable NHRIs' most effective contributions; and
  • As the UN celebrates its 70th anniversary, the General Assembly has a historic opportunity to maximise the UN's ability to draw on the unique expertise that NHRIs can offer to all areas of its work, thereby strengthening its responses to human rights situations everywhere.  
The ICC will continue to engage with Germany as main resolution sponsor, as well as with States and civil society, to promote support for extending NHRI participation in relevant UN mechanisms and processes.