“The enabling law does not explicitly mandate the PDJ to encourage ratification or accession to international human rights instruments. The SCA acknowledges that the PDJ interprets its mandate broadly and that in practice it does encourage ratification and accession to international human rights instruments including through its previous advocacy for the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture, as well as its ongoing advocacy for a UN instrument on the rights of older persons.

The PDJ further reported that Portugal has already ratified all major human rights treaties. While acknowledging that the PDJ interprets its mandate broadly, the SCA highlights that encouraging ratification of, or accession to, regional and international human rights instruments, as well as monitoring the effective implementation of those instruments to which the state is a party, is a vital function of an NHRI.

The SCA encourages the PDJ to continue interpreting and applying its mandate in a broad manner and to advocate for appropriate amendments to its enabling law to provide for an explicit mandate to encourage ratification or accession to regional and international human rights instruments.

The SCA draws attention to Paris Principle A.3(c) and its General Observation 1.3 on ‘Encouraging ratification or accession to international human rights instruments’.”