A National Human Rights Institution in Israel

April 30, 2019

The Minerva Center for Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is honored to publish the report “A National Human Rights Institution in Israel: Possibilities and Limitations”. National human rights institutions (NHRIs), the national institutions vested with the mandate to promote and protect human rights, have been established so far in approximately 120 states worldwide. Israel has a number of national institutions working, directly or indirectly, in the field of human rights, namely: the State Comptroller and Ombudsman, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, the Commission for Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women. The research conducted concludes that none of these bodies is an effective NHRI that conforms to the international standard required for the accreditation as an NHRI.

This report concludes a project conducted at the Minerva Center for Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem over several years – and made possible by funding from the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) - aimed at examining the institutions operating in the field of human rights in Israel and their compliance with the international standards. The project has been conducted in consultation with government officials, academics and civil society representatives. The report recommends operational measures aimed at the establishment of an accredited and effective NHRI in Israel.

We recommend a series of complementary and alternative measures to achieve this goal: First, Israel ought to establish a new national institution dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights. Second, in case a new institution is not established, we recommend to undertake legislative and other measures in order to entrench and strengthen the State Comptroller and Ombudsman as an effective NHRI. Third, it is necessary to strengthen the institutions already working on specific areas of human rights, alongside the establishment of a new institution or the transformation of the State Comptroller into an official NHRI. In addition, in order to assist and support the work of the human rights institutions and mainly the NHRI, a parliamentary human rights committee should be established, headed by an MK from the opposition.

The report (in Hebrew) and the research paper (in English) describing the deliberative process that produced this report, are attached and available on The Minerva Center for Human Rights Website.