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  4. December 2001 - Volume 26
  5. National Human Rights Institutions

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FOCUS December 2001 Volume 26

National Human Rights Institutions


Public expectation on national human rights institutions is always high, at least at the beginning of their operations. Human rights organizations give the benefit of the doubt to the newly-established ones, continuing criticism to those who have been operating for some time now, and also cooperation in other cases.

How far the national institutions will be able to satisfy the expectations of the victims of human rights violations, the human rights community, and the general public depends it seems on several factors.

A number of national institutions in Asia are suffering from financial and staff limitations. Some are restricted by their legal mandate to enforce decisions. In certain cases, governments are not fully supportive of national institutions.

The creation of national institutions is a step toward strengthening national mechanisms for human rights. The work of the national institutions adds to the work of human rights organizations, the courts, and the government agencies on human rights protection, promotion and realization.

National institutions, therefore, have a distinct role to play. They need support to perform their tasks well. They also need a reminder that since human rights work is always difficult, they will always be up on their toes. And that the best gauge of effectiveness is the redress provided to human rights violations victims, and measures established to prevent such violations from happening again.