“In accordance with Article 6 of the Law, membership of the CNIDH includes one (1) representative of the National Assembly and one (1) representative of the Senate who are elected by the respective permanent Bureau and who have voting rights, as well as a representative of the Executive who participates without voting rights.
The CNIDH reports that the representatives of the Senate and the National Assembly are not elected officials and that article 7(d) of the Law provides that CNIDH members cannot hold fulltime elected office. It further reports that the representative of the Executive participates 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 as 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 institution.
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 individuals designated by government or parliament 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 individuals designated by the government or parliament 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 individuals should be limited and should not exceed the number of other members of the NHRI’s governing body.
The SCA encourages the CNIDH to take such additional steps as are necessary to ensure that the presence of the individuals designated by government or parliament does not impact the independent functioning of the NHRI.”