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Thursday June 20, 2024

NCHR ranks amongst top commissions in the world

By Myra Imran
May 19, 2024
National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) logo. — Facebook/National Commission for Human Rights/File
National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) logo. — Facebook/National Commission for Human Rights/File

Islamabad : The National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) of Pakistan has been accredited as an A-status National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) by UN-linked body, the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), the largest network of national human rights institutions in the world.

GANHRI conducts reviews of national NHRIs to determine if they operate in accordance with the UN Principles on National Institutions, commonly known as the Paris Principles.

These principles set the standards to which commissions must comply in order to be considered internationally credible and to operate effectively. When a Commission proves its compliance with the Paris Principles, it can seek accreditation and become part of the global network known as GANHRI.

Despite it being extremely rare for commissions to attain A status in the first round, Pakistan’s NCHR has been accredited with this highest grade in its first try. It is also the only country to have attained new A status in this year’s session.

This status grants NCHR a seat at the Human Rights Council, and other UN bodies - a historic first for Pakistan. In the past, Pakistan’s commission could only act as an observer but now will get a voice at the table. NCHR Pakistan joins the ranks of the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, France and others as an A status NHRI.

The Chairperson of NCHR, Rabiya Javeri Agha, said: “NCHR is proud to have secured accreditation as an A-status institution and we thank our members, team, civil and international partners such as UNDP for their support.”

The application process consisted of a lengthy 125-page report regarding NCHR’s establishment, independence, composition, organizational infrastructure, working methods, mandate, and quasi-judicial functions Additionally, the NCHR team was interviewed by a committee comprising over 25 persons and select Chairpersons of accredited commissions throughout the world. The committee on accreditation was chaired by New Zealand and included a member of the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, GANHRI & APF (Asia Pacific Forum) and representatives from the NHRIs of South Africa, Greece, Croatia and Honduras.

This milestone positions Pakistan’s NCHR in a global alliance of quality, world-class commissions. It allows NCHR to speak at the UN Human Rights Council and other global forums to present Pakistan’s case for human rights. Its voice is strategic for financial concessions to Pakistan such as GSP+, FATF, and IMF. In Pakistan’s recent review at the Universal Periodic Report, eighteen countries recommended an independent functioning of NCHR. Today its A status accreditation affirms globally that Pakistan is taking human rights institutions seriously as per international commitments.

NCHR boasts a long list of achievements in its short tenure of two years. The accreditation report on NCHR acknowledges its work in human rights, its numerous investigations, its substantive research into a multitude of human rights issues, and its advocacy for new legislation as well as its feedback on draft laws. The GANHRI report reiterates that the government must continue to allow NCHR its independence and allocate sufficient funds to enhance its effectiveness.