International principles and methods employed by National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) as a means of promoting and protecting human rights, a case study of the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC)

Master Thesis


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title
Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

University of Cape Town

This study generally focuses on the important role that National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) play in promoting and protecting human rights at the domestic level, hence the need for NHRIs to be effective and efficient in the discharge of their mandate. One way of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of a NHRIs is by ensuring that it adheres to international principles and methods of promoting and protecting human rights as well as by adopting best practices from other NHRIs. The study therefore traces the evolution of NHRIs and their recognition at the international level. It also analyses the different forms in which NHRIs exist and discusses the recommended international principles and standards that act as core minimum in terms of a NHRI's mandate, methods of operation, composition and other guarantees of independence. Due to the fact that states have a wide discretion to devise appropriate means of applying the core minimum principles, this study also presents several best practices from different NHRIs in their implementation of the international principles and standards. Particular attention has been directed at the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) by assessing whether the MHRC adheres to the international principles and standards in its operations, and to consider whether it could advance human rights better by improving its working methods.