21 Jun 2024

Outcomes announced of the latest Sub-Committee on Accreditation session

From 29 April to 3 May 2024, the Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA) of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) assessed six ENNHRI members on their compliance with the UN Paris Principles. Those assessed were ENNHRI’s members from Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Great Britain, Lithuania, Portugal and Spain.

Azerbaijani NHRI

The SCA recommended that the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner of Azerbaijan be reaccredited with B-status. The SCA welcomed the efforts of the Azerbaijani NHRI to successfully advocate for amendments to the law that ensure a more timely selection and appointment process and encouraged further advocacy for a more transparent and participatory process.

The SCA noted with concern persisting recommendations in relation to addressing human rights violations and encouraged that the institution take proactive steps to promote and protect all human rights, including in relation to human rights defenders and serious human rights violations in the country. The SCA also included recommendations on human rights mandate and protection of staff from civil and criminal liability.

As set out under Article 12 of the GANHRI Statute, the Azerbaijani NHRI has challenged the SCA’s accreditation recommendation. Pending the consideration and outcome of this challenge by the GANHRI Bureau, the SCA recommendation is not considered final and the NHRI maintains its current status.

NHRI in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Institute for Human Rights Ombudsmen of Bosnia and Herzegovina was reaccredited with A-status. The SCA acknowledged amendments made to the enabling law of the NHRI that were in line with its previous recommendations.

The SCA recommended that the NHRI further develop its work on addressing acts and omissions of private entities. Additionally, the SCA encouraged the NHRI to carry on pursuing its advocacy for an appropriate level of funding to effectively carry out the breadth of its mandate, including its anti-discrimination mandate and newly established National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) mandate. Moreover, it issued recommendations with regards to proactive cooperation with civil society and reiterated its recommendation on the term of office.

Noting the inadequate response by state authorities to the NHRI’s recommendations, the SCA also encouraged it to continue to conduct follow-up activities to monitor the extent to which their recommendations were implemented.

Great Britain NHRI

Following a special review, the SCA recommended the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Great Britain maintain its A-status accreditation. The SCA encouraged the NHRI to continue to focus on the recommendations made during its previous review and to continue to meaningfully engage with civil society organisations, including those working on transgender rights.

Lithuanian NHRI

The Seimas Ombudspersons Office of the Republic of Lithuania was reaccredited with A-status. The SCA recommended that the Lithuanian NHRI continue to advocate for an adequate level of funding to ensure the full breadth of its current and additional mandates is effectively carried out, including the mandate to promote human rights.

Additionally, the SCA encouraged the NHRI to continue advocating for the relevant amendments enabling an independent and objective dismissal process. This includes providing express criteria on the no-confidence vote against the Ombudsperson or to remove this ground for dismissal. Furthermore, the SCA encouraged the NHRI to advocate for the formalisation and application of a selection process that includes requirements to publicise vacancies widely and to promote broad consultation and/or participation of civil society organisations.

The SCA also included a recommendation to make explicit the institution’s mandate on encouraging the ratification or accession to regional and international human rights instruments.

Portuguese NHRI

The Portuguese Ombudsman was reaccredited with A-status. The SCA reiterated its recommendation on ensuring a broad, participatory and transparent selection and appointment process. Moreover, the SCA encouraged the NHRI to further develop, formalise, and maintain working relationships with civil society and to advance the formalisation and implementation of processes that ensure pluralism and diversity in the NHRI’s staff composition.

Acknowledging that the Portuguese NHRI interprets its mandate broadly and undertakes activities to encourage the ratification and accession to international human rights instruments, the SCA encouraged the NHRI to continue to advocate for this mandate to be made explicit in its enabling law.

Spanish NHRI

The SCA reaccredited the Ombudsman of Spain with A-status. The SCA reiterated its recommendation to continue advocating for the explicit formalisation and application of a selection process in line with the Paris Principles.

Further, noting that the enabling law does not include a process which requires Parliament to discuss and consider the NHRI’s reports beyond its annual report, the SCA recommended that the institution advocate for amendments to its law to explicitly establish a process whereby its annual and thematic reports are widely circulated, discussed, and considered by the legislature.

Moreover, it encouraged the NHRI to advocate for amendments in its law to limit the possibility of re-election of the Ombudsman to one additional term. The SCA also included a recommendation on encouraging ratification of and accession to international human rights instruments.

Further information on this and the upcoming SCA session

ENNHRI provided tailored support to its members before and during the session and stands ready to assist them and national authorities in their follow-up to the SCA recommendations.

For the full details on the outcomes and recommendations from the SCA’s April 2024 session, read the report.

In the next SCA session, six European institutions will be assessed on their compliance with the UN Paris Principles. They are the institutions in Armenia, Denmark, Georgia, Greece, the Russian Federation and Sweden. ENNHRI stands ready to support all ENNHRI members throughout the accreditation process.

Read more on what that accreditation support encompasses, as well as ENNHRI’s Practical Guide to the Accreditation of NHRIs.