The Paris Principles were adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Commission by Resolution 1992/54 of 1992, and by the UN General Assembly in its Resolution 48/134 of 1993. An international workshop of national human rights institutions, relate to the status and functioning of national institutions for the protection and promotion of human rights held in Paris in 1991, first drafted these Principles known as the “Paris Principles.”
The International Coordinating Committee for National Human Rights Institutions (ICC) is the international association of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) from all parts of the globe. Established in 1993, the ICC promotes and strengthens NHRIs to be in accordance with the Paris Principles, and provides leadership in the promotion and protection of human rights.
National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI) are bodies established by countries under their national legislation or under their constitutions to promote and protect human rights. NHRIs have responsibility for promoting and monitoring the effective implementation of international human rights standards at the national level. Paris Principles compliant NHRIs stand out as partners that are central to national human rights protection systems and are important counterparts for OHCHR.
The role and functions of NHRIs are set out in the United Nations. They can play a crucial role in promoting and monitoring the effective implementation of international human rights standards at the national level; a role which is increasingly recognized by the international community.
The International Coordinating Committee of NHRIs (ICC)
At the International Conference held in Tunis in 1993, NHRIs established the International Coordinating Committee of NHRIs (ICC) with the aim to coordinate the activities of the NHRI network. In 1998, rules of procedures were developed for the ICC and its membership was enlarged to 16 members, four from each of the geographical regions. At that same meeting, the ICC resolved to create a process for accrediting institutions. In 2008, the ICC discussed governance issues, including incorporation of the ICC in order to better cope with the changing environment including the role of NHRIs in the international human rights system. The ICC decided to incorporate itself as a legal entity under Swiss law, with a Bureau of 16 voting members representing the four regions of the ICC (“A status” NHRIs).
The ICC also decided to streamline rules of procedures and to clearly define its membership and the role and governance of its annual meeting and international conferences. In 2009, the ICC discussed matters related to the Committee’s governance working group and the working group on sustainable funding and the Subcommittee on Accreditation; as well as inter alia issues related to the implementation of the Nairobi Declaration, the Durban Review Conference and the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The Bureau consists of the following NHRIs:
• The New Zealand Human Rights Commission ( ICC Chair ) http://www.hrc.co.nz
• Kenya National Commission on Human Rights ( ICC Secretary ) http://www.knchr.org/
• The Conseil Consultatif des Droits de L’Homme du Maroc http://www.ccdh.org.ma
• South African Human Rights Commission http://www.sahrc.org.za/
• National Commission for Human Rights of Togo http://www.cndh-togo.org
• Comisión Nacional para los Derechos Humanos of Mexico http://www.cndh.org.mx
• Ombudsman of Ecuador http://www.dlh.lahora.com.ec/paginas/judicial/PAGINAS/Defensoria.base.htm
• Defensoría del Pueblo de la Nación Argentina http://www.defensor.gov.ar
• Australian Human Rights Commission http://www.hreoc.gov.au/
• National Human Rights Commission of India http://nhrc.nic.in
• National Centre for Human Rights of Jordan http://www.nchr.org.jo/
• Scottish Human Rights Commission http://www.scottishhumanrights.com/
• The Commission consultative des droits de l’homme of Luxembourg http://www.ccdh.lu
• German Institute for Human Rights http://www.institut-fuer-menschenrechte.de
• the Office of the Ombudsman of Croatia http://www.ombudsman.hr/
NHRIs have clearly defined roles and opportunities to participate in the international human rights system and to follow-up to results and recommendations at the national level.
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