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[Joint Open Letter] India: Review of the Accreditation Status of the National Human Rights Commission of India

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Reference: TIGO ASA 20/2024.5341 22 March 2024

Chairperson Maryam Abdullah Al Attiyah

Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) Geneva, Switzerland

Re: Review of the Accreditation Status of the National Human Rights Commission of India

Dear Chairperson,

We, the undersigned, are writing to bring to your attention serious concerns regarding the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRCI) ahead of the fifth review of its accreditation status by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA).

On 9 March 2023, several signatories to this letter had written to your office sharing their concerns about the functioning of the NHRCI. Taking cognizance of the letter and other civil society submissions, in March, GANHRI-SCA deferred the NHRCI’s re-accreditation by 12 months after considering the NHRCI’s failure to effectively discharge its mandates to respond to the escalating human rights violations in India, lack of pluralism in selection and appointments of its duty holders and insufficient cooperation with human rights bodies, amongst others. GANHRI-SCA also recommended the NHRCI to improve its processes and functions in line with the United Nations Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions (The Paris Principles). However, both the NHRCI and Indian government have yet again failed to make the requisite improvements.

The upcoming review comes shortly after the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, raised concerns about the increasing restrictions on the civic space and discrimination against minorities in India ahead of the country’s General Elections. These concerns were further underlined by various UN human rights experts who drew attention to “attacks on minorities, media and civil society” in the country. India has also constantly been downgraded on various development and human rights indices over the past few years.

In light of this, we strongly urge GANHRI-SCA to amend the current ‘A’ rating of the NHRCI to accurately reflect its failure to comply with the Paris Principles and address the deteriorating human rights situation in India. We provide detailed reasons below.

For the full version of this letter, click here