Establishing an NHRI in a Contested Political Space: A Deliberative Process in Israel

Tomer Broude*, Natan Milikowsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How can a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI), as the centrepiece of a national human rights system, be established and contribute to the domestic institutionalisation of human rights in a contested political space? Could the effectiveness of domestic human rights actors be enhanced without a formal NHRI? This article reflects on a deliberative process regarding the establishment of an NHRI compliant with the ‘Paris Principles' as the prevailing international standard, in the contested political space of Israel. It describes the discussion's overall setting and analyses the main elements of the consultative process. Although none of the institutions working in the field of human rights in Israel merit NHRI accreditation, in concert they constitute a functional system of domestic institutionalisation. The project raised several dilemmas looking ahead: should the goal be a ‘first-best’ NHRI? Would an Israeli NHRI be able to address the most severe human rights violations? Could the political atmosphere have adverse effects on the protection of human rights? How should an NHRI be designed with effectiveness in mind? We conclude that the Paris Principles, however necessary, do not in themselves ensure effectiveness, and might be too demanding politically in contested spaces, such as present-day Israel.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)281-299
Number of pages19
JournalNordic Journal of Human Rights
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Norwegian Centre for Human Rights.


  • Human rights
  • Israel
  • NHRI
  • National Human Rights Institution
  • Paris Principles
  • contested political spaces
  • national human rights system


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