Accreditation of NHRC by GANHRI postponed

Accreditation of NHRC by GANHRI postponed

This article covers “Daily Current Affairs”, and the topic details “Accreditation of NHRC by GANHRI postponed”. This topic is relevant in the “International Relations” section of the UPSC CSE exam.


Why in the News? 

The accreditation of the National Human Rights Commission, India (NHRC-India) by the U.N.-recognized Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) has been postponed for a second time within the span of a decade. This delay stems from concerns raised regarding issues such as political influence in appointments, the inclusion of law enforcement in investigations related to human rights abuses, and inadequate collaboration with civil society.


Reasons behind the postpone

  • Limited Representation and Inclusivity: The GANHRI identified a lack of diversity within the NHRC’s staff and leadership. This homogeneity, they argue, hinders the commission’s ability to understand and address the specific needs of all communities within India.
  • Insufficient Protections for Vulnerable Groups: The GANHRI expressed concerns about the NHRC’s response to human rights violations targeting marginalised communities, religious minorities, and human rights defenders. These groups often face unique challenges and require tailored protections.
  • Conflict of Interest in Investigations: The GANHRI flagged the NHRC’s practice of involving the police in investigations of alleged human rights abuses by the police itself. This creates a conflict of interest, raising questions about the impartiality of such investigations.
  • Restricted Collaboration with Civil Society: The GANHRI feels the NHRC doesn’t collaborate effectively with civil society organisations working on human rights issues. Civil society groups often play a crucial role in documenting human rights violations and advocating for reform. By limiting cooperation with these organisations, the NHRC might be missing valuable insights and opportunities to address human rights concerns.


Paris principle and the “A” status given by GANHRI

  • The Paris Principles, established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993, set out the essential criteria that National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) must meet to be considered credible and impactful. 
  • The Paris Principles, established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993, delineate six primary criteria that National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) must meet to be considered legitimate and effective guardians of human rights.
  1. Mandate and Competence: NHRIs should possess a clear and comprehensive mandate that empowers them to promote and protect human rights effectively. This mandate should encompass various aspects of human rights, including civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.
  2. Autonomy from Government: NHRIs must operate independently from the government and other state actors to ensure impartiality and effectiveness in addressing human rights issues. This autonomy includes financial independence and freedom from undue government influence in decision-making processes.
  3. Independence Guaranteed by Law: The independence of NHRIs should be legally guaranteed through statutes or constitutional provisions to shield them from political interference and ensure their ability to fulfil their mandate without fear of reprisal.
  4. Pluralism: NHRIs should reflect the diversity of society and be composed of members representing various sectors, including civil society, academia, and marginalized communities. This diversity fosters inclusivity and enhances the institution’s credibility and legitimacy.
  5. Adequate Resources: NHRIs must be allocated sufficient resources, including financial, human, and technical resources, to effectively carry out their functions. Inadequate resources can impede their ability to investigate human rights violations, provide assistance to victims, and advocate for systemic reforms.
  6. Adequate Powers of Investigation: NHRIs should possess the authority to conduct impartial and thorough investigations into alleged human rights violations. This includes the power to subpoena witnesses, access relevant information and documents, and make recommendations for remedial action to address violations.
  • NHRIs are expected to fulfil requirements including a broad mandate, autonomy from government influence, legally guaranteed independence, pluralistic representation, sufficient resources, and investigative authority. GANHRI, the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, evaluates NHRIs based on these principles, classifying them as ‘A’ status (fully compliant), ‘B’ status (partially compliant), or lacking status.
  • An ‘A’ status indicates complete alignment with the Paris Principles and grants NHRIs specific privileges within international and regional human rights frameworks. NHRIs holding ‘A’ status enjoy speaking rights at the UN Human Rights Council, participation in UN treaty bodies, and leadership roles in NHRI networks such as ENNHRI and GANHRI. 
  • This status empowers them to actively contribute to international discourse and decision-making processes concerning human rights issues. Achieving ‘A’ status is a prestigious acknowledgement of an NHRI’s credibility, autonomy, and effectiveness in advancing and safeguarding human rights, as articulated in the Paris Principles.


  • The Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) is an organization associated with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Serving as a global network, it brings together national human rights institutions (NHRIs) from various countries with the aim of advancing the cause of human rights protection and promotion.
  • GANHRI boasts a membership of 120 NHRIs worldwide. Its core mission revolves around unifying, advocating for, and enhancing the capabilities of NHRIs to align with the UN Paris Principles, which serve as fundamental standards for the effective functioning of NHRIs. 
  • Established in 1993, GANHRI serves as a platform for collaboration, capacity-building, and advocacy among National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) worldwide. 
  • GANHRI’s primary objective is to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of NHRIs in fulfilling their mandates to promote and protect human rights within their respective countries. It provides a forum for NHRIs to exchange best practices, share experiences, and address common challenges related to human rights promotion and protection.
  • One of GANHRI’s key roles is to accredit NHRIs based on adherence to the Paris Principles, a set of international standards that outline the fundamental criteria NHRIs must meet to be considered credible and effective. Accreditation by GANHRI signifies recognition of an NHRI’s compliance with these principles and grants them access to various privileges and opportunities for engagement at the international level.


What is NHRC and its composition?

NHRC, established on October 12, 1993, under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, amended in 2006, is an independent statutory body in India. It functions as a watchdog for human rights in the country, safeguarding rights such as life, liberty, equality, and dignity, as guaranteed by the Indian Constitution and international agreements enforceable within India’s courts. Its formation adheres to the Paris Principles, adopted in Paris in October 1991 and endorsed later that year.



  • NHRC comprises multiple members, including a chairperson, five full-time members, and seven deemed members. Eligibility for chairmanship extends to individuals who have served as Chief Justice of India or judges of the Supreme Court. 
  • Appointments are made by the President upon the recommendation of a six-member committee headed by the Prime Minister. The term of office for the chairperson and members is three years or until they reach the age of 70, whichever comes earlier. 
  • The President retains the authority to remove the chairperson or any member under specific circumstances, subject to an inquiry by a Supreme Court Judge.


The commission operates through five specialized divisions: Law, Investigation, Policy Research & Programmes, Training, and Administration.


Challenges Related to NHRC


  • Mechanism of Investigation: NHRC lacks a dedicated investigative mechanism, relying on Central and State Governments to probe human rights violations.
  • Time Limit for Complaints: Complaints filed with NHRC beyond one year from the incident are not entertained, resulting in numerous grievances remaining unaddressed.
  • Decision Enforcing Power: NHRC can only issue recommendations and lacks the authority to enforce its decisions or ensure compliance.
  • Underestimation of Funds: NHRC is sometimes perceived as a post-retirement avenue for judges and bureaucrats with political affiliations. Insufficient funding further impedes its efficacy.
  • Limitations of Powers: State human rights commissions lack the authority to demand information from the national government, hindering investigations into human rights violations by armed forces under national jurisdiction. NHRC’s jurisdiction over human rights violations by armed forces is notably limited.


Download plutus ias current affairs eng med 15th May 2024


Prelims practise question 


Q1. Consider the following statements:

  1. Paris principles were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993.
  2. GANHRI provides financial assistance to the nations to help them maintain their Human Rights.
  3. In the 2023 resolution, GANHRI has included Climate Change in its charter as a factor that impacts Human Rights.

How many of the above statements are correct?

(a) Only one

(b) Only two

(c) All three

(d) None


Answer: B


Mains practise question


Q1. In what ways does the involvement of law enforcement in investigations of alleged human rights abuses by the police create a conflict of interest within the NHRC’s practices?

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