Although working at the country level, national human rights institutions (NHIR) do contribute to the international human rights process. In working within the UN human rights system, national institutions are neither an alternative to NGOs or governments. However, such institutions can potentially play a far more influential role than NGOs due to their official character as state bodies. The position of NGOs in relation to the wider UN system, particularly through the Economic and Social Council consultative status, is well established. Due to states’ politics, the UN has not clarified its ties with national institutions as it did with regard to NGOs. However, with regard to the UN human rights system, NHRIs have acquired a status practically comparable, and sometimes even stronger, than that of NGOs. At the formal level and vis-à-vis the UN system generally, however, NHRIs have yet to reach the status that has been gained by NGOs.

Keywords: National Institutions, NHRIs, NGOs, Treaty-bodies, Universal Periodic Review, UN Special Procedures, Human Rights Protection, UN Human Rights System