The Australian Human Rights Commission has welcomed its re-accreditation as an A-status National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), the international NHRI standards body.
GANHRI conducts reviews of its members every five years to determine if they operate in accordance with the UN Principles on National Institutions (commonly known as the Paris Principles). Australia played a key role in the development of these standards, which set out the necessary requirements for NHRIs to effectively promote and protect human rights, independently of government.
The Commission’s re-accreditation hearing originally occurred in March 2022. However, a decision on the AHRC’s status was deferred for 18 months in order for serious matters of compliance to be addressed.
GANHRI’s key concern was the selection and appointment process for Commissioners over a 10-year period from 2012 to 2022, in which not all appointments met the Paris Principles requirement for roles to be publicly advertised and finalised through a merit-based selection process.
To address this concern, the Federal Parliament passed legislation in October 2022 requiring all Commissioner roles to be publicly advertised and merit tested.
Commission President Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM said: “The Commission is delighted to have secured our reaccreditation as an A-status institution.
“We have engaged with civil society and advocated to successive governments to strengthen the appointments process. We have also worked with the Attorney-General and his Department to ensure appropriate measures were taken to address the concerns GANHRI had raised.
“The Australian Human Rights Commission Legislation Amendment (Selection and Appointment) Act 2022 as well as a new policy setting out the appointments process in full have strengthened the integrity and independence of the Commission and have been assessed by GANHRI as meeting its global standards for institutional independence.”
The review has made two recommendations to be addressed in the coming years: ensuring the Commission’s mandate covers all relevant human rights instruments, and ensuring the Commission is appropriately resourced to fulfil all its functions.
"We thank the Attorney-General and his Department for working with us to help restore our global standing as a best practice NHRI. We now look forward to continuing our work as Australia’s NHRI with the confidence and reputational benefits which an A-status accreditation provides.”
The report of the AHRC’s accreditation review is available here:
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