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Over the past twenty years, National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) have moved from the periphery to the centre of the human rights debate. The potential of NHRIs to transmit and implement international norms at the domestic level, and to transfer human rights expertise to regional and global human rights fora, is increasingly recognised. In Europe, the continent with the widest variety and density of human rights protection mechanisms, NHRIs are also gradually gaining recognition as actors that can enable more comprehensive and effective human rights promotion and protection.
This book, the result of a COST conference held in Leuven in April 2012, focuses on the functioning and role of NHRIs in Europe in a comparative, European and international perspective. At a time when the European Union is looking for a more coherent and strategic human rights policy, it is important that policy makers and academics pay more attention to the potential role of NHRIs. By bringing together contributions from academics and practitioners, this volume offers insights into the opportunities and challenges that accompany the increasing emergence of NHRIs in Europe and their proliferation on the multiple levels of human rights promotion and protection. Accordingly, this volume aims to inform and further trigger the NHRI debate in Europe.