Who we are

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) is the National Human Rights Institution for Northern Ireland. Although funded by government, we are an independent public body.

Our job is to make sure government and other public bodies protect the human rights of everyone in Northern Ireland. We also help people understand what their human rights are and what they can do if their rights are abused.

Why are we here?

The UK Government made a commitment to establish a Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission in the Belfast Good Friday Agreement

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission was set up in 1999 following the introduction of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 .

We were the first national human rights institution in the UK.

The Commission’s powers are set out in legislation and its responsibilities as a national human rights institution are set out in the UN Paris Principles.

There is one full-time Chief Commissioner, and six part-time Commissioners. They are appointed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland following an open recruitment exercise. Commissioners should be as representative of the community in Northern Ireland as is practicable.

The appointments process is in line with that used for most senior public appointments in the UK and complies with guidance issued by the independent Commissioner for Public Appointments.