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National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) have been recognized at the international level as actors for the promotion and protection of human rights since 1946. Throughout the next three decades the United Nations and some of its affiliated organizations prepared a series of reports on the feasibility of national institutions as instruments for protection and promotion of human rights. These reports culminated in the UN International Workshop on National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, held in Paris in 1991. The workshop led to the drafting of guiding principles – popularly known as the “Paris Principles” – that were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993.

When NHRIs met in Tunis for their second international workshop, they decided to establish the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), previously known as the International Coordinating Committee of institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (ICC). Since then, the UN General Assembly has adopted numerous resolutions calling for the strengthening of NHRIs.