In this article human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) will be discussed. After examining their background, including their history and the different kinds of human rights impact, the various purposes of HRIAs, namely compliance, policy-making, accountability and empowerment will be examined. Questions relating to the development of HRIAs will also be analysed. It will be examined whether HRIAs should be incorporated into other kinds of impact assessments and how impact on human rights can be determined. In the article, the three phases in carrying out HRIAs, namely the analytical process, the deliberative process, and the monitoring and evaluation, will be subsequently analysed, dividing them into different steps. Finally, the various actors taking part in HRIAs will be dealt with. These are policy-makers, human rights experts, civil society organisations, national human rights institutions, and affected people.