The Paris Principles - evaluation criteria for human rights institutions


The Paris Principles

Founding and tasks of human rights institutions

The Paris Principles are a key evaluation criterion for human rights institutions. The Paris Principles require National Human Rights Institutions to be created under a constitutional or legislative provision, in which the tasks, composition and sphere of the competence of the institution are set forth.

An institution must have an autonomous and independent status not only formally, but also financially and administratively.

A human rights institution must be vested with as broad competence as possible. Its responsibilities must include

expert, advisory and reporting tasks associated with promoting and safeguarding human rights

  • tasks relating to human rights education, training and provision of information
  • tasks associated with monitoring compliance with international human rights commitments. and
  • international cooperation related to above mentioned tasks

An institution may optionally be entrusted with the task of handling and mediating appeals and/or complaints and assisting appellants in individual cases of human rights violations as well as making recommendations to authorities.

Composition of the Human Rights Institution

The Paris Principles require that an institution has a pluralist composition, which encompasses the instances in society that are involved in human rights work at the national level.

The institution is a body that complements the efforts of civil society, human rights research and government actions and strives to make its own contribution to safeguarding implementation of human rights by monitoring and evaluating, when necessary also critically, the actions of the aforementioned instances, helping them implement human rights better as well as making society more conscious of and amenable to human rights.

Government and executive-branch representatives may participate in an institution's decision making, but only in an advisory capacity.

The financial autonomy of the institution is emphasised insofar as its budget should not be under the government's control, but is preferably a separate budget item on which the parliament decides.

> UN Resolution A/RES/48/134, 20.12.1993 (in English)