02 Dec 2016

Expert meeting on strengthening NHRIs independence concludes in Warsaw

Strengthening and maintaining the independence of NHRIs was at the centre of an expert meeting jointly organised by ENNHRI and other international organisations, and hosted by ODIHR and Council of Europe, in Warsaw on 28 and 29 November 2016.

Participants at the meeting reviewed the specific aspects of the Paris Principles related to the independence and pluralism of NHRIs and discussed modalities to provide sustainable, operational guidance on the issue of NHRIs’ independence. They identified good practices and lessons learned on strengthening and maintaining the independence of NHRIs. Discussions also focused on the importance of NHRI engagement with international human rights mechanisms.

The Commissioner for Human Rights of Poland, Dr. Adam Bodnar, underlined the importance of independence of NHRIs, and the importance of international support for NHRIs under threat.

Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, stated that “strong and independent NHRIs are key actors to ensure that human rights are included in laws and policies, and to investigate violations of human rights”.

Participants also discussed future actions to provide support for the independence of NHRIs across the OSCE region, including a joint statement to be released following the meeting.

ENNHRI, the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions was one of the organisers of the meeting, together with OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the Council of Europe, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), and the Office of the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights.