“In accordance with Article 10 of the Law, membership of the CNDH includes two (2) parliamentarians from each chamber of the Parliament. These individuals have voting rights.
In accordance with Article 13 of the Law, the position of the President of the CNDH is incompatible with elected office. There is no reference to such incompatibility for other members of the CNDH.
The SCA acknowledges that the CNDH reports to have submitted to the Prime Minister a draft amendment to its enabling law which would provide that both government representatives and members of the parliament participate without voting rights.
The SCA emphasises that the Paris Principles require an NHRI to be independent from government in its structure, composition, decision-making and method of operation. It must be constituted and empowered to consider and determine the strategic priorities and activities of the NHRI based solely on its determination of the human rights priorities in the country, free from political interference.
For these reasons, government representatives and members of parliament should not be members of, nor participate in, the decision-making of organs of an NHRI. Their membership of, and participation in, the decision-making body of the NHRI has the potential to impact on both the real and perceived independence of the NHRI.
The SCA recognizes that it is important to maintain effective working relationships, and where relevant, to consult with government. However, this should not be achieved through the participation of government representatives in the decision-making body of the NHRI.
Where government representatives or members of parliament, or representatives of government agencies, are included in the decision-making body, the NHRI’s legislation should clearly indicate that such persons participate only in an advisory capacity. In order to further promote independence in decision-making, and avoid conflicts of interest, an NHRI’s rules of procedure should establish practices to ensure that such persons are unable to inappropriately influence decision-making by, for example, excluding them from attending parts of meetings where final deliberations and strategic decisions are made.
The participation of government representatives or members of parliament, or representatives of government agencies, should be restricted to those whose roles and functions are of direct relevance to the mandate and functions of the NHRI, and whose advice and cooperation may assist the NHRI in fulfilling its mandate. In addition, the number of such representatives should be limited and should not exceed the number of other members of the NHRI’s governing body.
The SCA encourages the CNDH to continue to advocate for passage of the proposed amendments.”