Human Rights Issues

Candid notes on the NHRC’s status deferral


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: About NHRC;

Mains level: Human Rights; NHRC; Paris Principles;

Why in the News?

The National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) was formally informed late last week that the deferral of its status would continue for a year more.

  • The deferral was put in place by the Sub-committee on Accreditation (SCA) of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) for a year, in 2023.

About the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC)

    • The NHRC is a statutory body established under the Protection of Human Rights Act, of 1993.
    • It is mandated to promote and protect Human Rights in India, investigate complaints of human rights violations, and take serious cognizance of human rights issues.
    • The NHRC plays a crucial role in ensuring accountability and justice for victims of Human Rights abuses.
  • It’s Deferral status:
    • The deferral of NHRC’s status means that its accreditation is temporarily postponed, pending improvements in its compliance with the Paris Principles.
    • The Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) accredits National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) based on compliance with the Paris Principles, a set of international standards for NHRIs.

About Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI):

  • The GANHRI is an international network that brings together National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from around the world.
  • It was established in 1993 as the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.
  • In 2009, it was renamed GANHRI to better reflect its global scope and mission.

How Indian NHRC is drifting away from the Paris Principles?

  • Ideological Conflict: The mention of the ‘Manusmriti’ in the NHRC document sparked outrage among historically disadvantaged communities, who view it as a source of discrimination and violence they have endured during ancient times.
    • The foundational values of ‘Equality’ in the Indian Constitution and Paris Principles conflict with Manusmriti’s ‘caste-division’ principles.
    • In early 2017 also the NHRC was placed in the deferral category by the GANHRI, which was later lifted after a review.
  • Significance of ‘A’ Status: NHRC had emphasized the significance of ‘A’ status accreditation in its public note on a previous occasion.
    • ‘A’ status grants participation in the work and mechanisms of GANHRI, the Human Rights Council, and other UN mechanisms.

Way forward:

  • Comprehensive Review: Conduct a thorough review of NHRC’s policies, practices, and organizational structure to identify areas of improvement and address deficiencies.
  • Strengthen Compliance: Need to take proactive measures to ensure compliance with the Paris Principles, including enhancing autonomy, independence, and effectiveness in addressing human rights violations.

Mains PYQ:

Q Though the Human Rights Commissions have contributed immensely to the protection of human rights in India, yet they have failed to assert themselves against the mighty. Analysing their structural and practical limitations, suggest remedial measures. (UPSC IAS/2021)

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