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GANHRI Defers Accreditation of NHRC

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    2nd Jun, 2023

Context

For the second time in a decade, Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) deferred the accreditation of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), citing objections like political interference in appointments among others.

About

  • The GANHRI had granted‘A’ status of accreditation to NHRC in 2017, after deferring it the year before — the first such instance since NHRC was established (1993).
  • Without the accreditation, NHRC will be unable to represent India at the UN Human Rights Council.

What is GANHRI?

  • GANHRI isrecognised and a trusted partner, of the United Nations.
  • It was established in 1993 as the International Coordinating Committee of NationalInstitutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (ICC).
  • It has been known as the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) since 2016 and is a member-based network organization that gathers NHRIs from all around the world.
  • It is composed of 120 members,India also is a member of GANHRI
  • Its secretariat is situated in Geneva, Switzerland.

What is NHRC?

  • NHRC of India is an independent statutory body established on 12th October, 1993 as per provisions of Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, later amended in 2006.
  • It is the watchdog of human rights in India, i.e. the rights related to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by Indian Constitution or embodied in the international covenants and enforceable by courts in India.
  • It was established in conformity with the Paris Principles, adopted for the promotion and protection of human rights in Paris (October, 1991) and endorsed by the on 20 December, 1993.

Why are the Reasons for Deferment?

  • The GANHRI cited reasons such as:
    • Lack of diversityin staff and leadership
    • Insufficient actionto protect marginalized groups
    • Involving the police in probesinto human rights violations
    • Poor cooperationwith civil society
  • The GANHRI said the NHRC has repeatedly failed to deliver its mandate,in particular to protect the rights of people from marginalized communities, religious minorities, and human rights defenders.
  • NHCR's lack of independence, pluralism, diversity and accountability arecontrary to the U.N.’s principles on the status of national institutions (the ‘Paris Principles’).

What are the Paris Principles and ‘A’ Status?

  • The United Nations’ Paris Principles, adopted in 1993 by the UN General Assembly provides the international benchmarks against which National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI)can be accredited.
  • The Paris Principles set out six main criteria that NHRIs are required to meet. These are:
    • Mandate and competence
    • Autonomy from government
    • Independence guaranteed by a statute or Constitution
    • Pluralism
    • Adequate resources
    • Adequate powers of investigation.
  • The GANHRI is a group of 16 human rights agencies – 4 from each region; the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific – that have the Highest Rating (‘A’) for following the Paris Principles.
  • The ‘A’ rating also lets them join the work of the GANHRI and the UN on human rights issues.
    • The NHRC got its ‘A’ rating in 1999 and kept it in 2006, 2011, and 2017 after a delay. The GANHRI had delayed it because of some problems with the NHRC’s staff and appointments.
    • The NHRC is led by Justice Arun Mishra, who used to be a Supreme Court judge.

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