skip to main content

Human Rights Commission Welcomes ‘A’ Status Accreditation

08 May 2024

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (the Commission) welcomes its ‘A’ Status re-accreditation by the United Nations, formally received at the Global Alliance of Nation Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) General Assembly this week.

In 2023, the Commission reported on the risk to its ‘A’ status accreditation due to the critical impact budget cuts had on the ability to fulfil its mandate. Since then, the United Kingdom Government has published its response to an independent review and further committed to ensuring the Commission has the ability and resources to carry out its statutory functions, which include the protection of rights set out in the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.

Chief Commissioner Alyson Kilpatrick commented:

We are delighted that the Commission has been re-accredited as an ‘A’ status NHRI after a lengthy deferral. This reflects some recent reassurance as to our funding arrangements. We will continue to press for long-term financial sustainability which is essential to our independence and ability to fulfil the important job we were established for and have been doing for 25 years”.


Notes to Editor

  • An Independent Review of the Commission was completed in December 2022 following direction by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. The report concluded that as a result of an insufficient core budget the “NIHRC is struggling to fulfil its statutory mandate” with particular attention drawn to three areas for which “delivery cannot currently be considered fully successful” these are: the duty to “promote understanding and awareness of the importance of human rights in Northern Ireland; investigatory powers; and legal assistance powers.
  • In September 2023 the Commission welcomed the publication by the UK Government of an Independent Review. The Commission accepted all of the report’s recommendations and is implementing those within its control.
  • In 2021, the United Nations deferred the Commission’s re-accreditation as an A-status NHRI due to concerns over insufficient funding and a restricted capacity to operate. It described the situation as “very serious and time sensitive” and “strongly recommended that an improved and sustainable position” be provided by the UK Government before the end of the deferral period.
  • Access the UK Government Response to the Independent Review of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission 2022 here
  • Access the Independent Review of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission here
  • Read the GANHRI Report and Recommendations of the Session of the Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA) in relation to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s accreditation here.
  • About the Commission
    • The Commission is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), with responsibilities set out under the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. The Commission operates independently and in compliance with UN General Assembly resolution 48/134 (the ‘Paris Principles’) on National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI). The Commission’s duties and powers to protect and promote human rights are set out in legislation, primarily in the Northern Ireland Act 1998. This has subsequently been enhanced by the Justice and Security Act 2007 on issues relating to legal and investigation powers. The Commission has also been issued with mandates around the rights of people with disabilities and more recently the role of the Dedicated Mechanism to monitor Article 2 of the Windsor Framework. In May 2022, the UK Government and the Commission agreed in principle to an independent review of the NIHRC. An independent review was completed and submitted to the UK Government in December 2022.
  • About the reaccreditation process
    • The Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) is mandated by the United Nations to evaluate the work of National Human Rights Institutions around the world and thereafter designate their status. GANHRI was due to complete its 5-year periodic review of the Commission in 2021 and highlighted a significant concern about the future financial footing of the organisation. This resulted in the unprecedented step of refusing to reaccredit the Commission with ‘A’ status recognition and instead deferring its decision. Maintaining ‘A’ status ensures Northern Ireland will continue to have independent representation before the UN Human Rights Council or international Human Rights Treaty Bodies, which are responsible for holding the UK to account for its human rights record.
Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now