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GANHRI To Review India’s Human Rights Accreditation Status

Context

  • The Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA) of the UN-recognised Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) is about to review India’s human rights accreditation status.

About

  • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) will defend the government’s human rights processes at the meeting in Geneva.
  • The NHRC’s ratings were put on hold in 2023 over concerns about its composition procedure, the presence of police personnel in human rights investigations, and the lack of gender and minority representation.
  • The decision over whether the NHRC is given an A rating or a B rating would affect its ability to vote at the UN Human Rights Council and some UNGA bodies.
  • Since being accredited in 1999, India has retained its A ranking in 2006 and 2011, while its status was deferred in 2016 and restored after a year.

GANHRI and Accreditation

  • GANHRI is one of the largest human rights networks worldwide.
  • At an international workshop held in Tunis, Tunisia in 1993, a group of NHRIs set the foundation for the global network of national human rights institutions.
  • It has its Head Office in Geneva and a governance structure representing NHRIs around the world.
  • GANHRI is recognized and is a trusted partner, of the United Nations.
  • It has established strong relationships with the UN Human Rights Office, UNDP, and other UN agencies.
    Members: It is a body of 120 members, of which 88 have “A” status accreditation, while 32 have “B” status”.
    GANHRI, through the Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA), is responsible for reviewing and accrediting NHRIs in compliance with the Paris Principles.
  • Accreditation: To be effective in their work to promote and protect human rights, national human rights institutions must be credible and independent.
  • The Paris Principles set out internationally agreed minimum standards that NHRIs must meet to be considered credible.
  • The Paris Principles require NHRIs to be independent in law, membership, operations, policy, and control of resources.
  • They also require that NHRIs have a broad mandate; pluralism in membership; broad functions; adequate powers; adequate resources; cooperative methods; and engagement with international bodies.
  • It is a rigorous, peer-based process, undertaken by representatives of NHRIs from each of the four regions: Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, and Europe.
  • A national human rights institution is reviewed by the SCA when:
  • it applies for initial accreditation;
  • it applies for re-accreditation every five years;
  • the circumstances of the NHRI change in any way that may affect its compliance with the Paris Principles.
  • Significance: The Accreditation confers international recognition and protection of the NHRI.
  • ‘A’ status accreditation also grants participation in the work and decision-making of the GANHRI, as well as the work of the Human Rights Council and other UN mechanisms.