ENNHRI advises on possible establishment of Flemish Institute for Human Rights and the UN Paris Principles
In response to the initiative by the Flanders Government to establish a Flemish Institute for Human Rights in Belgium, ENNHRI is taking the opportunity to clarify the applicable international standards.
In its statement on the matter, ENNHRI welcomes that the UN Paris Principles regarding independence and effectiveness are being taken into account when establishing a Flemish Institute for Human Rights.
At the same time, it reminds that the GANHRI Statutes define an NHRI as “an independent national institution established by a Member or Observer State of the United Nations.” Indeed, the SCA General Observations recognise that NHRIs are established for the specific purpose of advancing and defending human rights at the national level.
There are existing human rights bodies working in Belgium, including ENNHRI members like the B-Status accredited Unia, the newly established Federal Institute for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights, Myria (Belgian Federal Migration Centre), and the Combat Poverty, Insecurity and Social Exclusion Service.
In light of this, and in line with the indivisibility and interdependence of human rights, ENNHRI reminds all actors that cooperation and dialogue between the proposed new Flemish body and existing human rights bodies is crucial to ensuring holistic human rights protection in Belgium.
ENNHRI remains available for further information and cooperation on this matter.