ENNHRI High-level Consultation – Council of Europe Recommendation on NHRIs and EU Rule of Law Mechanism



At the end of 2018, the Council of Europe’s (CoE) Committee of Ministers Recommendation 2018/11 on the need to strengthen the protection and promotion of civil society space in Europe recognised National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) both as enablers of civil society space, and also as Human Rights Defenders that could be threatened by a closing of democratic space. Also, in 2020, the CoE plans to update its Recommendation No. R(97)14 on the establishment of independent national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights. ENNHRI will engage with the CoE throughout the different stages of the Recommendation’s review.

In parallel, the European Commission’s Communication on strengthening the rule of law in the EU proposed NHRIs as relevant indicators and information providers for its new rule of law cycle. The Communication also commited to strengthened cooperation with the CoE on the rule of law, including the Venice Commission. It shows further recognition of the unique added value of NHRIs in compliance with the UN Paris Principles, as well as the need to support and protect NHRIs.

About the consultation

This seminar will bring together the leadership of 20 European NHRIs to explore the role of NHRIs as contributors and beneficiaries in EU and CoE mechanisms for strengthening the rule of law, democracy and human rights in Europe.

On the first day, participants will clarify opportunities and parameters for NHRIs to participate in European rule of law mechanisms on the basis of their mandate to promote and protect human rights. Topics which will be considered are:

  • Paris Principles-driven Rule of Law / NHRI enabling indicators;
  • Potential modalities for NHRI reporting to the EU, based on national monitoring;
  • Use of NHRI information by the EU to reinforce rule of law and respect for human rights;
  • Safeguards and protections for NHRIs; and
  • Synergies for efficiency and impacts across the CoE region.

On the second day, participants will define what content and use of the upcoming CoE Recommendation on NHRIs could enhance NHRIs’ promotion and protection of human rights in Europe. A presentation from the Chair and Secretariat of the CoE Drafting Group will clarify the context, content and process of the new Recommendation. NHRIs will be encouraged to discuss how the Recommendation can make a difference to the work of NHRIs, both at a national level and for engagement with the CoE. The outcomes of this meeting will serve as preparation for the drafting process and will inform ENNHRI inputs as observer to the Drafting Group when it meets in March 2020.


For more information, contact Katrien Meuwissen from the ENNHRI Secretariat.

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