What we do

Our Core Activities

As the national human rights institution (NHRI) in Northern Ireland, the Commission has a range of duties and responsibilities including contributing to the monitoring of international human rights treaties in Northern Ireland. The core aspects of our daily operation are fundamental to fulfilling our mission. They are key to our compliance with the United Nations Paris Principles on the role of a national human rights institution and the Nolan principles of ethical standards in public life.

Our statutory functions include:
Each year, the Commission reviews progress by government and public authorities with human rights laws and standards. Our Annual Statement published in December records progress on meeting human rights standards. The Annual Statement strongly informs our future work priorities.

  • Advising the Westminster government, the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly, and key agencies on legislation and compliance with human rights frameworks
  • Our work to promote awareness of human rights through education, training and research
  • Our international treaty monitoring work
  • Our legal advice work including taking strategic legal cases
  • Our engagement with other national human rights institutions in the UK
  • Our work as part of the Joint Committee with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC)

In 2015, the Commission was elected the chair of the Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions. This reflects the esteem in which the Commission is held internationally and is an important opportunity to share our own experiences, facilitate dialogue and learn from others to achieve direct benefits for the people of Northern Ireland. The chair was handed over to the Equality and Human Rights Commission of Great Britain in April 2018.