Thematic Areas

GANHRI brings together and supports NHRIs to promote and protect human rights

GANHRI supports Members to work on a wide range of human rights issues. In collaboration with GANHRI members, Regional Networks and Partners, it facilitates relevant activities among GANHRI Members across all regions on specific human rights priority areas. By focusing on specific human rights priority areas, GANHRI’s positive impact on human rights promotion and protection across the world can draw on the developed knowledge of its GANHRI Members.  

Thematic work is undertaken by the Members via Working Groups and Caucuses, supported by the Head Office. The Head Office also undertakes thematic work on behalf of the Members.

GANHRI identified for 2023-2027 nine thematic focus areas listed below. Other themes may also be addressed, as decided by the Bureau on an annual basis, and driven primarily by members. 

Core Thematic Focus Areas


The 2030 Agenda and SDGs

Given their unique mandate and role, NHRIs can play a key role in the implementation and follow-up of the 2030 Agenda, and are at the core of the SDG institutional accountability architecture.

Their monitoring mandates give them a unique position to act as both watchdog and advisor in order to uphold the human rights embedded in the SDGs.

Human Rights Defenders and Civic Space

The Marrakech Declaration adopted by the NHRIs in 2018 set a series of practical strategies to protect existing civic space and promote, protect and build cooperative partnerships with human rights defenders.

Strong and independent NHRIs are themselves human rights defenders and play an important role in monitoring civic space and the situation of human rights defenders.

Climate Change and Human Rights

At the 2020 GANHRI Annual Conference, NHRIs from all regions jointly committed to a human rights-based action on climate change to support communities and preserve the environment. The conference statement sets out the practical ways that NHRIs will engage in national, regional and international processes to make progress on these commitments under the Paris Agreement.

GANHRI is also collaborating with UNEP to support NHRIs in instituting the statement and emphasise capacity building of NHRIs on environmental and climate issues.

Business and Human Rights

NHRIs play an important role at the national and international level in the field of business and human rights, including in facilitating access to remedy for business-related human rights abuses.

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) adopted in June 2011 and the Edinburgh Declaration approved in October 2010, both recognise and emphasise the important role national human rights institutions can play in addressing corporate-related human rights challenges.

People on the move

The broad mandate of NHRIs allows them to safeguard the rights of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, forcibly displaced persons, stateless persons and those at risk of statelessness.

GANHRI and UNHCR, have developed a strong partnership to support NHRIs in their work and developed a publication that examines the unique role and contributions of NHRIs and how partnerships with UNHCHR teams can make a lasting impact for people on the ground.

Discrimination based on gender

NHRIs contribute against discrimination based on gender through their unique mandate and powers.

Important instruments are NHRIs’ monitoring reports and their advice to their national parliaments and governments, as well as their awareness-raising and human rights education activities.

GANHRI facilitates NHRIs engagement with the Commission on Status of Women (CSW), as well as with the Committee on Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) inter alia.

Rights of Persons with Disabilities

NHRIs work in particular in promoting and monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

GANHRI engages closely with the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

GANHRI also established a Working Group in 2019 which leads NHRIs efforts around this topic.

Human Rights of Older Persons

NHRIs, in line with their Paris Principles-based mandates, can provide an important means to fill the existing promotion and protection gaps related to older persons.

Many NHRIs are engaged in monitoring the human rights of older persons. Monitoring helps to identify the diverse issues older persons encounter and their particular vulnerabilities.

GANHRI promotes NHRIs’ participation at the Open Ended Working Group on Ageing and has also created a Working Group which collaborates closely with the Independent Expert on Older persons.

Torture and ill-treatment

NHRIs are usually ideally placed to contribute at each level of an integrated strategy to prevent torture and ill-treatment in their countries.

NHRIs can play a crucial role by ensuring that the State upholds international obligations and ratify relevant international human rights treaties.

Most NHRIs operate by responding to complaints brought to them by individuals or organisations and by conducting monitoring activities in places of detention