The Paris Principles were defined at the first International Workshop on National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights held in Paris on 7–9 October 1991. They were adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Commission by Resolution 1992/54 of 1992, and by the UN General Assembly in its Resolution 48/134 of 1993. The Paris Principles relate to the status and functioning of national institutions for the protection and promotion of human rights.
In addition to exchanging views on existing arrangements, the workshop participants drew up a comprehensive series of recommendations on the role, composition, status and also functions of national human rights institutions (NHRIs).
The Paris Principles list a number of responsibilities for national institutions, which fall under five headings.
First, the institution shall monitor any situation of violation of human rights which it decides to take up. Second, the institution shall be able to advise the Government, the Parliament and any other competent body on specific violations, on issues related to legislation and general compliance and implementation with international human rights instruments. Third, the institution shall relate to regional and international organizations. Fourth, the institution shall have a mandate to educate and inform in the field of human rights. Fifth, some institutions are given a quasi-judicial competence.
"The key elements of the composition of a national institution are its independence and pluralism. In relation to the independence the only guidance in the Paris Principles is that the appointment of commissioners or other kinds of key personnel shall be given effect by an official Act, establishing the specific duration of the mandate, which may be renewable." 
Compliance with the Paris Principles is the central requirement of the accreditation process that regulates NHRI access to the United Nations Human Rights Council and other bodies. This is a peer review system operated by a subcommittee of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI).
- UN Handbook on National Human Rights Institutions
- UN OHCHR (2010) National Human Rights Institutions: History, Principles, Roles and Responsibilities Professional Training Series 4
- Anna-Elina Pohjolainen. (2006).The Evolution of National Human Rights Institution Danish Institute for Human Rights.
- International Council on Human Rights Policy. (2005) Assessing the Effectiveness of National Human Rights Institutions International Council on Human Rights Policy/Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Morten Kjærum (2003) National Human Rights Institutions - Implementing Human Rights Danish Institute for Human Rights
- Birgit Lindsnaes, Lone Lindholt, Kristine Yigen (eds.). (2001) National Human Rights Institutions, Articles and working papers, Input to the discussions of the establishment and development of the functions of national human rights institutions Danish Institute for Human Rights.
- National Human Rights Institutions Forum (NHRIs Global network) at the Library of Congress Web Archives (archived 2002-09-15)