Paris Principles

Paris Principles

The Paris Principles were defined at the first International Workshop on National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Paris on 7-9 October 1991, and adopted by United Nations Human Rights Commission Resolution 1992/54 of 1992 and General Assembly Resolution 48/134 of 1993. The Paris Principles relate to the status and functioning of national institutions for protection and promotion of human rights.

In addition to exchanging views on existing arrangements, the workshop participants drew up a comprehensive series of recommendations on the role, composition, status and functions of national human rights instruments.

The Paris Principles list a number of responsibilities for national institutions, which fall under five headings. First, the institution shall monitor any situation of violation of human rights, which it decides to take up. Second, the institution shall be able to advise the Government, the Parliament and any other competent body on specific violations, on issues related to legislation and its compliance with international human rights instruments, and on the implementation of these instruments. Third, the institution shall relate to regional and international organizations. Fourth, the institution shall have a mandate to educate and inform in the field of human rights. Fifth, some institutions are given a quasi-judicial competence.

"The key elements of the composition of a national institution are its independence and pluralism. In relation to the independence the only guidance in the Paris Principles is that the appointment of commissioners or other kinds of key personnel shall be given effect by an official Act, establishing the specific duration of the mandate, which may be renewable."

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