Message for the WEB page 
of the Danish Centre for Human Rights
27 November 2001

My Office warmly welcomes the establishment of this web-site on national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights based at the Danish Centre for Human Rights. I commend the Danish Centre for this exciting initiative. National institutions are new and important contributors to the promotion and protection of human rights. They translate international standards into policies and programmes capable of being implemented at the national level. Together with NGOs they are the bridge between international and national protection.

Since the adoption of the minimum standards governing the establishment of national institutions by the General Assembly in 1993 (the Paris Principles), the United Nations has made the establishment and strengthening of such institutions one of its top priorities. 

When truly independent, national institutions have proven to be effective partners and have challenged states and others to ensure that they adhere to international human rights norms. They have also proved effective partners in working with my Office on issues such as combating racism, promoting the rights of the child, addressing HIV/AIDS issues and ensuring that the disabled are heard. 

Working with national institutions is a long-term process and they - like other institutions - grow and shrink, improve and weaken. Through my Special Advisor on National Institutions and the National Institutions Team, my Office will remain vigilant in ensuring that these institutions continue to meet the minimum standards outlined within the Paris Principles. 

The exchange of information and best practices among national institutions re-enforces their ability to learn from each other, to provide mutual encouragement and to improve and even go beyond the Paris Principles. This web-site is an important step to facilitate such exchanges and learning. It will also be of great use to others interested in the work of national human rights institutions, not least civil society organisations.



Mary Robinson,
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

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