GANHRI defers reaccreditation of NHRC again

New Delhi, 14 May: The Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) has deferred the reaccreditation of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), India, for the second year in a row.

Geneva-based GANHRI, through its Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA), is responsible for reviewing and accrediting National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI) in compliance with the Paris Principles.

It is a “rigorous, peer-based process, undertaken by representatives of NHRIs from each of the four regions: Africa, Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe,” according to the GANHRI website.

GANHRI deferred the reaccreditation of the NHRC during its review meeting recently, sources said.

Last year, the review of the NHRC, which was due in March 2023 for its reaccreditation, had been deferred for a year, they said.

The deferral means no final decision has been taken as yet, a source said.

In accordance with the UN Paris Principles and the GANHRI Statute, two classifications for accreditation are used by GANHRI: ‘A’ – fully compliant with the Paris Principles; and ‘B’ – partially compliant with the Paris Principles.

The NHRC, established in 1993, had got ‘A’ status of accreditation the first time in 1999, which it retained in 2006 and 2011 reviews. It was under the process of review for 2016, which was deferred to the second session in November, 2017, during which the SCA recommended that the NHRC, India be again given ‘A’ status, according to a statement issued by the NHRC in 2018.

GANHRI, too, was set up in 1993.

At an international workshop held in Tunis, Tunisia on 13 December, 1993, a group of NHRIs set the foundation for the global network of national human rights institutions, known today as the GANHRI.

Accreditation takes into account compliance with the Paris Principles, among other factors.

The Paris Principles, as they came to be known, set out the roles, responsibilities and minimum standards for NHRIs to be considered independent and effective.

The Paris Principles quickly received broad support within the UN human rights system. They were endorsed by the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights and the UN General Assembly in 1993.

The NHRC was set up under the Protection of Human Rights Act, passed by Parliament in 1993.

Reacting to the development, Congress leader P Chidambaram said that it is “sad and a shame” that the GANHRI has declined accreditation to the NHRC.

“The status of the NHRC as an accredited human rights body was suspended in 2023 and now again in 2024. The GANHRI has concluded that India’s NHRC has failed to satisfy the international body that the NHRC is ‘able to operate independent of government interference’. That is a rebuke to the NHRC and the government of India,” Chidambaram said in a post on X on Tuesday.

However, the sources maintained that deferral means no final decision has been taken as yet. (PTI)