What is a Human Relations Commission and what does it do?


Human relations (rights) commissions usually are public agencies that are designed to provide a way for elected officials to address potentially volatile issues without disrupting the everyday flow of public affairs. Commissions are frequently used to investigate issues that are as diverse as police excessive use of force and inter-group hostilities on a school campus to whether someone was unfairly treated at a public or private facility. Although some commissions have been criticized as simply being a flak catcher for public officials they are more often seen as a way of providing access to government for individuals and organizations who would otherwise fall through the cracks of a governmental bureaucracy.

Whether you are a public entity or a community organization seeking to build or strengthen a human relations commission CAHRO is an Association you can look to for assistance. CAHRO offers access to a host of practitioners and experts in setting up and operating human relations commissions. CAHRO staff and board members work in large and small cities and counties throughout California and while there is always opportunity for learning, they bring decades of experience to the field.

The information provided within these pages are designed to be used as resources for human relations commissions.

What you will find within these pages are samples of existing human relations ordinances, official documents which can be used as models for others interested in creating and establishing human relations commissions. Other information provided here are strategies and guidelines to be used in aiding human relations commissions in their work.