Indicator Name, Target and Goal

Indicator 16.a.1: Existence of independent national human rights institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles

Target 16.a: Strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime

Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Definition and Rationale


This indicator assesses the existence of independent national human rights institutions with the Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions (The Paris Principles), which were adopted by the General Assembly (resolution 48/134) based on the rules of procedure of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI, formerly the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights or ICC). 


A National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) is an independent administrative body set up by a country with a constitutional or legislative mandate to promote and protect human rights. They are a part of the national administration but operate independently from the government. The general role of NHRIs is to address discrimination in all its forms, as well as to promote the protection of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Core functions of NHRIs include complaint handling, human rights education and making recommendations on law reform. An independent NHRI has ‘A level’ accreditation to the Paris Principles. 

Paris Principles were adopted by the UN General Assembly in Resolution 48/134 on 20th December 1993, and provide the international standards on the independent functioning of NHRI. These standards serve as the basis on which NHRIs are accredited by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI). For more information, see: 

GANHRI is the international association of NHRIs which promotes and strengthens NHRIs to be in accordance with the Paris Principles and provides leadership in the promotion and protection of human rights (ICC Statute, Art. 5). 

Accreditation by GANHRI entails determination whether NHRI are compliant, both in law and in practice, with the Paris principles. The process is conducted by the Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA) of the GANHRI. 

Rationale and Interpretation:

Accreditation of NHRIs shows that the government has a strong commitment to realize human rights in the country. Effective NHRIs are an important link between government and civil society. They contribute significantly to bridging the “protection gap” between the human rights of individuals and the State’s obligations under international law. Six models of NHRIs exist across all regions of the world today, namely: human rights commissions, human rights ombudsperson institutions, hybrid institutions, consultative and advisory bodies, institutes and centres and multiple institutions. This indicator expresses whether any of these models exist in a country and is independently functioning to protect and promote human rights, including by preventing and redressing their violations. 

Data Sources and Collection Method

The data for this indicator is collected from the administrative records of the GANHRI on the accreditation status of all NHRI. 

Method of Computation and Other Methodological Considerations

Computation Method:

This indicator is based on the level of accreditation of NHRI by the SCA of the GAHNRI. The levels of accreditation are as follows:

(1)    A: Full compliance with Paris Principles;

(2)    B: Not fully in compliance with the Paris Principles or insufficient information provided to make a determination; and

(3)    C: Non-compliant with the Paris Principles. 

Decisions on the classifications of NHRIs are conducted by GAHNRI based on their submitted documents such as:

(1)    Copy of legislation or other instrument by which it is established and empowered in its official or published format (e.g. statute, and /or constitutional provisions, and/or presidential decree;

(2)    Outline of organizational structure including details of staff and annual budget;

(3)    Copy of recent published annual report; and

(4)    Detailed statement showing how it complies with the Paris Principles. 

The SCA reviews NHRIs that hold ‘A’ and ‘B’ statuses every five years. Civil society organizations may also provide relevant information to OHCHR pertaining to any accreditation matter, which are included in the assessments provided to the SCA. 

Comments and limitations:

The important and constructive role of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights has been acknowledged in different United Nations instruments and resolutions, including the Final Document and Programme of Action of the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, GA resolutions A/RES/63/172 (2008) and A/RES/64/161 (2009) on national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights. In addition, creation and strengthening of NHRIs have also been encouraged. For example, the 1993 GA resolution 48/134 ‘affirms the priority that should be accorded to the development of appropriate arrangements at the national level to ensure the effective implementation of international human rights standards’ while the 2008 GA resolution A/RES/63/169 encouraged states ‘to consider the creation or the strengthening of independent and autonomous Ombudsman, mediator and other national human rights institutions’. The Human Rights Council in HRC resolution 5/1, 2007 also called for the effective participation of national human rights institutions in its institution building package. 

 While this is  a global indicator, it can be monitored at country and regional levels. Data on status of accreditation of NHRIs are shared with individual NHRI and regional NHRI networks and publically available ( National statistical offices may obtain the data directly from their NHRI counterparts or from OHCHR/GANHRI. Similarly, UN regional economic commissions may get the data from regional NHRI networks or OHCHR/GANHRI.

Proxy, alternative and additional indicators: N/A

Data Disaggregation

This indicator is not required to be disaggregated. 


Official SDG Metadata URL  

Internationally agreed methodology and guideline URL  

Other references
UNOHCHR. Human Rights Indicators. Internet site:

GANHRI. Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions. Internet site:

UNOHCHR. National Human Rights Institutions. Internet site:

UNOHCHR. Principles Relating to the Status of National Institions (The Paris Principles). General Assembly Resolution 48/134 of 20 December 1993. Available at: 

Country examples

International Organization(s) for Global Monitoring

This document was prepared based on the approved indicator metadata and inputs from Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

For focal point information for this indicator, please visit

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