NHRCK Receives ‘A’ status in GANHRI Accreditation Review
-Reaffirmed the NHRCK’s high credibility and status
in the international community-
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea(Chairperson Doohwan Song) was granted ‘A’ status in the most recent accreditation review conducted by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions(GANHRI)* Sub-Committee on Accreditation(SCA). The accreditation review takes place every 5 years and the Commission recently received its review on October 22, 2021.
The GANHRI SCA grants A or B status** to its member national human rights institutions(NHRI) based on how diligently these organizations have complied with the ‘Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions’ (also known as the ‘Paris Principles’), which outlines the standards regarding NHRI’s independence, diversity in staff composition, independence in handling tasks, extensiveness of tasks, sufficiency in mandate to launch inquiries that are protected by the Constitution and relevant laws.
The NHRCK being granted ‘A’ status in the GANHRI SCA review clearly portrays where the Commission stands in the international community. The result is all the more meaningful as it arrived just days after the Commission celebrated its 20th Anniversary of the establishment.
The national human rights institutions with ‘A’ status are highly trusted in the international community as leading organizations in human rights protection and are given mandate to speak at the UN Human Rights Council and the meetings of the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review(UPR). The institutions are also given the authority to influence the GANHRI’s decision making process.
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea was granted ‘A’ status by the GANHRI SCA in the first accreditation review in 2004 and also received the same status in 2008. However, there were times when the decisions to finalize the status were postponed in 2014 and 2015(in March 2014, October 2014 and March 2015), as the ‘National Human Rights Commission of Korea Act’ failed to meet the standards of transparency, diversity and independence in the commissioner appointment process to receive desired status. The Commission was able to receive ‘A’ status once again in May 2016.
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea reaffirmed its credibility in the international community with the renewed status as an ‘A’ status human rights institution. This will further enhance the institution’s prestige on the international stage.
Legal and Policy Manager at the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions(APF)*** Philip Wardle said he saw that there were many efforts put into the accreditation review on the NHRCK’s part, and the Commission left profound impression on the representative of the Sub-committee as the answers provided by the Chairperson were clear and well-prepared.
Though granted ‘A’ status in the 2021 accreditation review, the Commission also received recommendations from the GANHRI SCA regarding the process of commissioner election and appointment and financial independence. The GANHRI SCA recommended the Commission to stipulate the need for the installation of Single Independent Selection Committee for the election and appointment of commissioners on administrative regulations(guidelines) that is legally binding, and to continue to make effort to pass the amendment draft of the ‘National Human Rights Commission of Korea Act’ that states the status of the Commission as an independent organization, according to the ‘National Financial Act’.
The Commission will ask for coordination from the National Assembly, the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and other related government agencies to amend the ‘National Human Rights Commission of Korea Act’ in order to implement the recommendation.
*The GANHRI was established in 1993 as an alliance of the national human rights institutions around the world, and it consists of 118 member institutions as of 2021.
**A status: compiles with the ‘Paris Principles’ / B status: partially complies with the ‘Paris Principles’
***The APF was established in 1996 as an alliance of the national human rights institutions in the Asia Pacific region and it consists of 25 member institutions as of 2021.