< Major themes < Co-operation with National Human Rights Structures

Joint European Union –
Council of Europe Programme

Setting up an active network of independent non-judicial human rights structures

With funding by the European Union and the Council of Europe, the Project (referred to as “The Peer-to-Peer Project”) consists of a work programme to be implemented by the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights in 2008 and 2009. It aims at setting up an active network of independent non-judicial National Human Rights Structures (NHRS) compliant with the Paris Principles, with special focus on non EU member States.

Objective of the programme

The Peer-to-Peer Project seeks to enable national structures to improve their performances in terms of:
  • raising human rights awareness in their countries;
  • detecting potential or existing human rights problems;
  • proceeding to efficient investigations were this is in their mandate;
  • engaging in constructive dialogue with the authorities to avert or solve problems of human rights protection;
  • triggering rapid mobilisation of international partners if necessary.

    The project also intends to support the setting-up of new NHRS at national, regional or local level, where they do not exist.


    The main tool of the programme is the organisation of workshops for specialised staff members of the NHRS, in order to convey select information on the legal norms governing priority areas of NHRS action and to proceed to a peer review of relevant practices used or envisaged throughout Europe. A manual in several languages will be prepared after each workshop for dissemination amongst NHRS and other relevant actors. The choice of the themes for the workshops takes due account of priorities indicated by the NHRS.

    In the first year, five workshops and one round table will be organised in Italy and Russia, in partnership with the “Centre on Human Rights and the Rights of Peoples” of the University of Padua, and the St Petersburg Humanitarian and Political Science “Strategy” Centre in St Petersburg.

    An annual steering meeting of NHRS Contact Persons will be organised to evaluate the past project activities and design the future ones.

    The project will also provide a forum to enhance the system of information sharing between NHRS in dealing with specific cases, with a particular focus on good practices.

    Finally, missions will be also organised to countries where interest in setting up a NHRS is expressed, in coordination with other International Organisations and with the participation of existing national structures.

  • Presentation of the programme in Russian

    List of workshops 2008-2009


    Workshop on "The role of national human rights structures in case of non execution of domestic judgments" (Padua, 24-26/03/2009)


    Workshop on "The protection of the rights of Roma people by national human rights structures" (Budapest, 24-25/02/2009)

    Workshop "The promotion and protection by national human rights structures of the rights of persons with disabilities" (02-03/12/08)

    Annual meeting of contact persons (19-20/11/08)

    Workshop "The promotion and protection by national human rights structures of freedom of expression and information"

    Round table of Russian ombudsmen (02-03/07/08)

    Workshop "Protecting the human rights of irregular migrants: the role of national human rights structures"

    Workshop "Complaints against the police - their handling by the national human rights structures" (20-21/05/08)

    Workshop "Rights of persons deprived of their liberty : the role of national human rights structures which are OPCAT mechanisms and of those which are not"


    Office of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights NHRS Unit
    +33 3 88 41 34 21


    Joint Programmes between the Council of Europe and the European Commission