“In March 2014, the SCA noted that the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners of the CHRAJ are appointed by the President of the country, in consultation with the Council of State through a process that is not clearly stipulated in the law. The Council of State is an advisory body that does not currently include members of civil society. The SCA remains of the view that the process currently enshrined in the Law is not sufficiently broad and transparent.

The CHRAJ reports that it has advocated for an amendment to its enabling law to require that the appointment of members be subject to the prior approval of Parliament, and that this has been included in the Constitutional amendments bills that have been prepared for Parliament. However, the SCA is not of the view that this requirement on its own would be sufficient to address the abovenoted concerns with respect to the non-advertisement of vacancies and the transparency of the process.

The SCA therefore encourages the CHRAJ to continue to advocate for the formalization and application of a process that include requirements to:

  1. publicize vacancies broadly;
  2. maximize the number of potential candidates from a wide range of societal groups;
  3. promote broad consultation and/or participation in the application, screening, selection, and appointment process.
  4. assess applicants on the basis of pre-determined, objective and publicly-available criteria; and
  5. select members to serve in their own individual capacity rather than on behalf of the organization they represent.”