Agenda 2030 implementation

All States to establish and strengthen independent and effective Paris Principles compliant NHRIs, including as means of Agenda 2030 implementation, says UN resolution

New York, 19 November 2019- The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution encouraging all states to establish and strengthen independent, effective and pluralist national human rights institutions in line with the Paris Principles, including to guarantee and accelerate progress in the implementation of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

The resolution – adopted today at the Third Committee, with the support of more than 85 States from all regions – highlights the important contribution that NHRIs have in promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, and contributing to the prevention of human rights violations and abuses.

The resolution also calls on the United Nations’ Secretary General to strengthen cooperation with the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, in support of NHRIs worldwide.

To date, from 193 member states 79 have established a Paris Principles compliant national human rights institution. Accelerated progress is required to guarantee that all states meet the NHRI indicator under Sustainable Goal 16 by 2030.

The resolution also recognises the invaluable contributions of NHRIs within the UN, and encourages all UN mechanisms and processes, to further enhance the participation of Paris Principles compliant NHRIs in their work. This includes the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and related global and regional preparatory processes as well as the Sustainable Development Goals Summit.

Speaking at the adoption of the resolution at the Third Committee, Germany, as main sponsor of the resolution, said that “the broad cross-regional co-sponsorship from states demonstrates the strong, international commitment to the value and importance of NHRIs”.

Importantly, the resolution also states that NHRIs should not face reprisals for undertaking work in accordance with their mandate – and encourages greater efforts to investigate and respond to increasing reports of cases of reprisals against NHRIs and those cooperating with them.

In holding their governments accountable for their commitments under international human rights law, NHRIs and their leadership teams across all regions have experienced sustained criticism from political leaders, legal proceedings against NHRI members and cuts to their budgets, and other forms of intimidation.

This issue has also been reported by the Assistant Secretary General Gilmore in his most recent report to the Human Rights Council and will also be a priority focus for discussions at the GANHRI Bureau meeting in Medellin, Colombia from 20 to 22 November 2019.

These challenges have also been highlighted in the Marrakech Declaration adopted at GANHRI’s 13th International Conference in October 2018 on the theme of shrinking democratic space and human rights defenders, which the resolution has also noted.

“Reprisals are totally unacceptable and human rights defenders – including national human rights institutions – deserve full protection” said GANHRI Chairperson Carlos Alfonso Negret Mosquera, commenting on the adoption the resolution.

“This resolution is a strong and renewed acknowledgement from the international community that independent NHRIs are essential to promote and protect human rights, and progress on sustainable development, in every country of the world. I look forward to strengthening cooperation with the Secretary General of the United Nations in support of our members worldwide”.

The GANHRI Chairperson also warmly thanked Germany for their leadership, and all States and civil society that are supporting the resolution.

The resolution will be presented to the General Assembly later this year, for final adoption.