22 Mar 2021

ENNHRI recalls international standards applicable to the adequate funding for NHRIs in letter to support the Armenian NHRI

Following a Constitutional amendment proposed by the Armenian government that could threaten the financial autonomy of the NHRI, ENNHRI reiterates that relevant international standards must be respected in the provision of adequate funding and resources to NHRIs. This is vital to ensure the effective functioning of NHRIs.

ENNHRI is addressing a public letter to the President of the National Assembly of Armenia on the international standards applicable to the funding and financial autonomy of NHRIs.

This follows a proposal for amendment to the Constitutional Law on the Human Rights Defender, which was submitted by the Armenian government on 11 March 2021. The proposal would remove the guarantee against a regressive provision of funds to the NHRI, which has been considered a best practice in Europe.

An appropriate level of funding is one of the key elements to ensure the institutional and functional independence of NHRIs to carry out their mandate. Changes in the provision of funding must not negatively impact the effectiveness of NHRIs.

In this letter, ENNHRI reiterates that:

  • Relevant international standards, such as the UN Paris Principles, the SCA General Observations and the Council of Europe’s Venice Principles must be respected to ensure the provision of adequate funding and resources to NHRIs.
  • Adequate funding should, to a reasonable degree, ensure the gradual and progressive realisation of the improvement of the NHRI’s operations and the fulfilment of its mandate. Where the NHRI has been designated with additional responsibilities by the State, additional financial resources should be provided.
  • Changes to the legislative provisions affecting the funding of the NHRI require a prior effective consultation with all parties concerned, including a strong role for the NHRI itself. Relevant authorities must consult with the NHRI to understand what constitutes ‘adequate funding’, and decisions must be based on objective criteria.
  • State authorities must refrain from taking any action which may reduce the effective functioning of NHRIs. Significant changes in the enabling law of an NHRI, including provisions on funding, may trigger a special review by the SCA.

In light of the above, ENNHRI calls on the relevant authorities to assess the proposed amendment in full consideration of the applicable international standards. It is ENNHRI’s view that the best practice contained in Article 8(5) of the Constitutional Law of Armenia should be maintained.

» Read the full letter

ENNHRI is available for any further clarification on the applicable international standards. For more information, contact Gabriel Almeida at the ENNHRI Secretariat (Gabriel.Almeida@ennhri.org).