“[…] the SCA was concerned that eligibility for appointment as Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner is restricted to lawyers, which may unduly restrict the pluralism of the CHRAJ.

Further, the SCA notes that there is gender imbalance in the staff complement of the CHRAJ.

The SCA reiterates that a diverse decision-making body facilitates a NHRI’s appreciation of, and capacity to engage on, all human rights issues affecting the society in which it operates, and promotes the accessibility of the NHRI for all citizens.

The SCA notes the proposal provided to the Constitution Review Committee by the CHRAJ that its governing body be expanded to five (5) members (a Commissioner and four (4) Deputy Commissioners including Special Commissioners for children, persons with disabilities and the aged), that non-lawyers should be eligible for appointment, and that gender considerations should be included in the law. The SCA is of the view that this recommendation, if passed, would address the above-noted concern regarding the requirement for the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioners to be lawyers. It therefore encourages the CHRAJ to continue to advocate for passage of this amendment.

The SCA further encourages the CHRAJ to continue efforts to ensure gender balance in the composition of its staff at all levels.”