“In May 2016, the SCA noted that the procedure for dismissal of Commissioner is not specified in the existing Law. It further noted that, in accordance with article 8 of the Law, the term of office of a Commissioner shall end following the loss of status that justified their appointment, and that this provision may allow ‘recall’ of a nominated member by the appointing authority for inappropriate reasons.
The SCA is of the view that in order to address the Paris Principles requirements for a stable mandate, which is important in reinforcing independence, the enabling legislation of an NHRI must contain an independent and objective dismissal process, similar to that accorded to members of other independent State agencies.
The grounds for dismissal must be clearly defined and appropriately confined to only those actions which impact adversely on the capacity of the member to fulfill their mandate. Where appropriate, the legislation should specify that the application of a particular ground must be supported by a decision of an independent body with appropriate jurisdiction. The dismissal must be made in strict conformity with all the substantive and procedural requirements as prescribed by law. It should not be allowed based solely on the discretion of appointing authorities.
The SCA is of the view that such requirements ensure the security of tenure of the members of the governing body and are essential to ensure the independence of, and public confidence in, the senior leadership of an NHRI.
The SCA notes that the NCHRF has proposed amendments to article 8 of the Law to specify grounds for dismissal, and to provide that the President and Vice President may be removed from office by a decree of the President following a decision taken by 2/3 of Commissioners prescribed by the Rules. While this provision does partially address the previously-stated concerns of the SCA, the SCA notes that the grounds for dismissal continue to be broad, and that the process for dismissal for members of the Commission besides the President and Vice President is not specified.
The SCA encourages the NCHRF to continue to advocate for appropriate amendments to its enabling law to provide for an independent and objective dismissal process.”