Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) is a national human rights institution with A status accreditation from the United Nations. NIHRC is funded by United Kingdom government, but is an independent public body that operates in full accordance with the UN Paris Principles.

We are Northern Ireland’s centre of excellence on human rights.

Established on the basis of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, we play a central role in supporting a society that, as it rebuilds following conflict, respects and upholds human rights standards and responsibilities. Human rights values and standards need to be at the heart of our society if we are to achieve well-being, peace and justice.

We hold government, elected representatives, statutory and other relevant organisations to account. To do this, we may work in partnership with these organisations and civil society. Each year, the Commission reviews progress by government and public authorities with human rights laws and standards. Our Annual Statements, published in December, record progress on meeting human rights standards and strongly inform our future work priorities.

The Commission has a range of duties and responsibilities including contributing to the monitoring of international human rights treaties in Northern Ireland.

Our statutory functions include:

  • Advising the Westminster government, the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly, and key agencies on legislation and compliance with human rights frameworks
  • Our work to promote awareness of human rights through education, training and research
  • Our international treaty monitoring work
  • Our legal advice work including taking strategic legal cases
  • Our engagement with other national human rights institutions in the UK
  • Our work as part of the Joint Committee with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC)

Head of institution

Chief Commissioner, Alyson Kilpatrick



Temple Court, 39 North Street, Belfast

Year of establishment


Accreditation status


Year of accreditation


Number of staff


Regional offices



  • Monitoring body under CRPD Art 33(2)
  • National human rights institution

Core functions

  • Monitoring
  • Publishing research, recommendations and opinions
  • Reporting to international and regional human rights mechanisms
  • Legal assistance
  • Advising government, parliament and other public bodies
  • Cooperation with civil society organisations
  • Human rights education and training
  • Awareness raising activities
  • Engagement with other national human rights institutions in the UK
  • Joint Committee with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC)