ENHRI (Europejska Sieć Organów Ochrony Praw Człowieka), Rule of Law Report 2021
NHRIs‘ contribution in monitoring and advancing the rule of law in Europe
Human rights and the rule of law are interlinked and mutually reinforcing principles: a strong regime of rule of law is vital to the protection of human rights, and the rule of law can only be fully realised in an environment that protects human rights. National human rights institutions (NHRIs), as independent, state-mandated bodies with a broad human rights mandate, are therefore key players in the protection and promotion of the rule of law in their countries.
The added value of NHRIs’ individual and, through their European
Network ENNHRI, collective engagement in efforts to promote and protect rule of law, human rights and democracy in Europe has been the object of increasing recognition by regional actors over the past year.
Such recognition rests on the crucial role of NHRIs as an essential component of the national systems of checks and balances and as key actors in the human
rights enforcement chain. This has been reaffirmed in the Recommendation on developing and strengthening NHRIs recently adopted by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers. The Recommendation calls on each Council of Europe Member State to establish, maintain and strengthen an independent NHRI in compliance with the Paris Principles and to ensure an enabling environment for, and cooperate with NHRIs. At EU level, the important role of NHRIs as contributors and beneficiaries of the EU’s efforts to promote and protect rule of law, human rights and democracy within and outside its borders, is clearly stressed within the newly established review cycle of the rule of law situation in EU Member States, the European Commission Strategy for the effective implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and the new EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024 which underpins the EU’s external action, including in the context of the enlargement process and the Eastern Partnership policy. This has translated into an increased attention by regional actors to the need to support and cooperate with NHRIs when advancing and monitoring progress on rule of law, human rights and democracy across the region.