Governance and Operations
The ICC is governed by a statute
of incorporation under Swiss law.
The unique role of NHRIs in bridging the gap between international human rights standards and norms and their implementation on the ground has been recognised in multiple resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and Human Rights Council:
| Title : 2006 GA resolution establishing the Human Rights Council (A/RES/60/251) (4)
| Title : 2009 GA resolution on the role of Ombudsman institutions and NHRIs (A/RES/63/169) (4)
| Title : 2010 GA resolution on NHRIs (A/RES/64/161) (4)
| Title : 2011 HRC resolution on NHRIs (A/HRC/17/9) (4)
| Title : 2012 GA resolution on NHRIs (A/RES/66/169) (4)
| Title : 2012 HRC resolution on NHRIs (A/HRC/RES/20/14) (4)
| Title : 2013 GA resolution on NHRI (4)
| Title : 2013 HRC resolution on NHRIs (A/HRC/RES/23/17) (4)
| Title : 2014 HRC Resolution on NHRIs (A/HRC/RES/27/18) (4)
| Title : 2015 GA Resolution on NHRIs (A/RES/70/163) (4)
| Title : 2016 HRC resolution on NHRIs (A/HRC/RES/33/15) (4)
| Title : 2017 GA Resolution on NHRIs (4)
| Title : 2018 HRC resolution on National human rights institutions (A/HRC/RES/39/17) (4)
Other key UN Bodies have also acknowledged the important role of NHRIs, these include:
The Human Rights Committee, see the paper on the relationship of the Human Rights Committee with NHRIs (CCPR/C/106/3) A ,E
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), see the statement on its relationship with NHRIs E
The Committee on the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ECOSOC), see the Committee's General Comment 10 on the role of NHRIs in the protection of economic, social and cultural rights E
The key organs, officeholders and staff of the ICC are:
- the General Meeting;
- the ICC Bureau;
- the Regional Coordinating Committees;
- the Chairperson; and
- the ICC Geneva Representative.
The General Meeting of members is the supreme deliberative body of the ICC and has overall control of the organisation’s activities. It adopts and reviews the program of activities; is responsible for electing the membership and monitoring the activities of the ICC Bureau, (the Board of Directors); is responsible for approving amendments to the ICC Charter; and approves the budget and financial reports.
The Bureau Members implements the decisions of the General Meeting. It is responsible for the day-to-day functions of the ICC including the development of organisational policies and procedures; the implementation of programs; monitoring financial accounts; and services to members. Importantly, the Bureau is responsible for decisions on the accreditation of members. It is comprised of 16 members, 4 from each of the ICC regional groups of Africa, the Americas, the Asia-Pacific, and Europe.
Regional Coordinating Committees have been established to represent and support NHRIs at the regional level. They are responsible for nominating members to the ICC Bureau, and to the positions of Chairperson and Secretary. A nominee of each Regional Coordinating Committee serves as the regional focal point on the ICC Bureau and works closely with ICC Chairperson in the implementation of General Meeting and Bureau decisions.
The ICC Chairperson is responsible for advancing the work of the ICC on a daily basis, through implementation of decisions of the ICC General Meeting and the Bureau. In so doing, the ICC Chairperson consults and works in cooperation with the regional Chairpersons. The ICC Chairperson’s responsibilities fall under three broad categories, namely strategic leadership, organisational management and administration. The current Chairperson is Mr Mabedle Lawrence Mushwana, Commissioner and Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission. Mr Mushwana succeeds Dr Mousa Burayzat, Commissioner General of the Jordan National Centre for Human Rights, who has led the ICC for a year (2012-1013). Dr Mousa Burayzat succeeded Ms Rosslyn Noonan, former Chief Commissioner of the New Zealand Human Rights Commissioner (NZHRC), who led the ICC for the period 2010-2012.
At the operational level, the ICC Geneva Representative provides assistance and expert advice to members on interaction with UN processes and on how best to engage effectively with international human rights instruments. The ICC Geneva Representative also liaises with OHCHR, international experts, as well as States and NGOs; advises the ICC on activities and opportunities for ICC strategic engagement; and undertakes advocacy and supports awareness building about and promotion of the ICC and NHRIs. The ICC Representative is Ms. Katharina Rose.
There are currently 71 (A status accredited) and 25 (B status accredited) NHRIs coming from all regions of the world. Only NHRIs that fully comply with the Paris Principles and which have been granted A-status accreditation are eligible to become voting members of the ICC and to hold governance positions. NHRIs which only partially comply with the Paris Principles, and which have been granted B-status by the ICC, can participate in meetings of the ICC but are not eligible to vote or to hold governance positions.
The ICC’s Sub-Committee on Accreditation has developed a series of General Observations
on the Paris Principles that are intended to constitute guidance for NHRIs on accreditation and on the implementation of the Paris Principles. They are also useful for NHRIs to press for the institutional changes necessary to fully comply with the Paris Principles.
There are currently 25 General Observations that address a broad range of issues including competence and responsibilities; independence and pluralism; and methods of operation.
The mission of the ICC is to promote and strengthen NHRIs to be in accordance with the Paris Principles and provide leadership in the promotion and protection of human rights (Article 5 of the ICC Statute).
the January 2014 to December 2016 period, the vision of the ICC is to develop as a strong international body to coordinate the work of NHRIs and to improve cooperation in advancing human rights values, principles and practices nationally, regionally and internationally. For more information see the ICC Strategic Plan E.
The ICC will be:
• Highly Visible, Recognized, Credible, and Effective;
• Supportive and Responsive to its members;
• Regionally developed;
• Financially sustainable;
• Growing; and
• Integrated in the United Nations.
As outlined in article 7 of the ICC Statute, the principles of the ICC are:
• To maintain and strengthen a fair, transparent, and credible accreditation process;
• To share timely information and guidance to NHRIs on engagement with the Human Rights Council, its mechanisms, and United Nations human rights treaty bodies;
• To disseminate information and directives concerning the Human Rights Council, its mechanisms, and United Nations human rights treaty bodies to NHRIs;
• To ensure mandated representation of NHRIs;
• To build strong relationships with OHCHR and the Regional Coordinating Committees that reflect the complementarity of roles;
• To ensure flexibility, transparency and active participation in all processes;
• To develop inclusive decision-making processes based, to the greatest extent possible, on consensus; and
• To maintain its independence and financial autonomy.