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Guide to the international accreditation process

Graphic: APF members attend an ICC meeting in Geneva

The GANHRI Sub-Committee on Accreditation meets in Geneva, generally in March and November, to consider the applications for accreditation or reaccreditation of NHRIs.

The accreditation process aims to be comprehensive, rigorous and transparent.

Before the meeting

A range of information is compiled prior to the Sub-Committee meeting, including:

  • Information provided by the NHRI, which should comprise a Statement of Compliance with the Paris Principles; its founding / empowering legislation or instrument; an outline of its organisational structure, including staffing and budget; its most recent annual report; and any other relevant documents
  • Summary of issues relevant to the application, which is prepared by the National Institutions and Regional Mechanisms Section of the OHCHR and provided to the NHRI for its review and response
  • Reports from other organisations, such as national or regional civil society organisations, that are able to provide information on the work of the NHRI.

This information is made available to Sub-Committee members and regional coordinating committee observers prior to the meeting.

During the meeting

Once at the meeting, the National Institutions and Regional Mechanisms Section of OHCHR presents its summary paper. In addition, OHCHR country/regional officers may provide an overview on the domestic situation in which the NHRI operates.

Following deliberations by the Sub-Committee, questions are compiled and the applicant NHRI is contacted by telephone to discuss any outstanding issues of concern.

After the teleconference, Sub-Committee members will again review the application and seek to reach a consensus on the appropriate level of accreditation.

Report and recommendations

A draft recommendation on accreditation is prepared on the day. It is then reconsidered on the final day of the meeting, along with all applications under review, to ensure that all applicants are assessed in a similar manner.

NHRIs are given 28 days to respond to the Sub-Committee's recommendation and their comments are included in the written report presented to the 16-member GANHRI Bureau, which makes the final decision on each NHRI's accreditation status within a further 21 days.

The report and recommendations of the Sub-Committee are then made publicly available.

A more detailed description of the accreditation process is included in the Rules of Procedure.

Role of the APF

The APF secretariat may assist APF members to prepare their Statement of Compliance or comment on issues raised during the application process.

This advice generally relates to:

  • Interpretation and application of the Paris Principles
  • Assessment of the issues that the APF secretariat thinks will be raised during the review process
  • Assessment of issues arising from NGO or civil society reports.

The APF does not, in general, assist an applicant to write its Statement of Compliance unless there is a fundamental concern about the content or application of the Paris Principles and the Sub-Committee's General Observations.

Following an accreditation decision, the APF provides advice and assistance to member institutions on issues that should be addressed to ensure compliance with the Paris Principles.

Graphic: Participants at the GANHRI Annual Meeting, Geneva

GANHRI Sub-Committee on Accreditation Rules of Procedure


The SCA Rules of Procedure, amended version adopted on 4 March 2019.

Image credits

  1. APF members attend an ICC meeting in Geneva - APF/James Iliffe