06 Feb 2020

Why should NHRIs play a role in the EU Rule of Law Framework?

On 5 February, ENNHRI gathered high-level representatives of 19 European National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and regional stakeholders in Brussels to explore opportunities for NHRIs to participate in EU rule of law mechanisms. The consultation comes as a follow-up to ENNHRI’s submission to the European Commission on the role of NHRIs in strengthening the rule of law in the EU Member States.

Prior to the consultation, ENNHRI produced a background paper, identifying modalities for the participation of NHRIs in EU rule of law mechanisms, including:

  • Introducing NHRIs as rule of law indicators, taking the UN Paris Principles as benchmarks
  • Integrating NHRIs in rule of law monitoring mechanisms as reliable sources of information
  • Involving NHRIs in the identification of remedies and implementation monitoring

NHRIs have great potential to add value to the EU rule of law mechanism. They can provide key contributions to EU policy makers to monitor, address and assess rule of law issues in a given country. Their mandate to promote and protect human rights at the national level is a key resource for determining rule of law indicators and providing tailored responses. NHRI engagement would not only help create a coherent EU approach to the rule of law, but would also enhance synergies between initiatives on the rule of law and on human rights.

In addition, NHRIs’ engagement would enhance the recognition of their role at the national and EU levels, creating a more enabling environment where NHRIs can be fully deployed for better promotion and protection of human rights and the rule of law. This would further enable NHRIs to fulfil their role in supporting civil society and Human Rights Defenders.

The strategic engagement of NHRIs would also create opportunities for further synergies between the EU and Council of Europe, including the Venice Commission. This could reinforce the recognition of NHRIs’ unique potential by the Council of Europe, which provides ongoing support for the establishment and effective functioning of NHRIs.

For more information about the consultation, contact Maurice Claassens and Katrien Meuwissen from ENNHRI Secretariat.

» Download ENNHRI’s background paper on the strategic engagement of NHRIs in the EU
» Download ENNHRI’s submission to the European Commission on the role of NHRIs as partners in the EU’s Rule of Law Framework
» Learn more about ENNHRI’s work on Democracy and Rule of Law
» Download ENNHRI’s Regional Action Plan to the GANHRI Marrakesh Declaration