NHRI as Soft Law Maker of International Human Rights Norms — Revisiting the NHRI Design in Taiwan

Taiwan sees its National Human Rights Commission set up under the Control Yuan, a constitutional body similar to Ombudsman. It is a national monitoring body for international HR norms according to its organic law. However, its competence in the “research and development” of human rights norms can be uncertain.
I argue that, beyond the bridging function between national and international standards, an NHRI should be understood as a soft-law maker of international HR norms. International HR monitoring bodies increasingly refer to studies of NHRIs to support their observations. In other words, parallel to the role of national judges in the international judicial dialogue, NHRIs also take part in the (re)making of international human rights jurisprudence.
Hence, Taiwan’s NHRC should not simply identify itself as an extension of the Control Yuan. It should find its way to strengthen its R&D capacity and be prepared for an effective evolvement in the global human rights dialogue.