“The SCA notes that the CAHR reports it receives appropriate financial and technical resources to discharge its mandate. Further, while the CAHR has management and control of its budget, budgetary amendments must be approved by the Ministry of Finance. While in practice the CAHR reported it has not encountered issues in this regard so far, the SCA is concerned that this may restrict the ability of the CAHR to direct its budget to those areas it has identified as most important.
The SCA emphasizes that, to function effectively, an NHRI must be provided with an appropriate level of funding in order to guarantee its independence and its ability to freely determine its priorities and activities. It must also have the power to allocate funding according to its priorities. In particular, adequate funding should, to a reasonable degree, ensure the gradual and progressive realization of the improvement of the Institution’s operations and the fulfilment of its mandate.
Provision of adequate funding by the State should, at a minimum, include the following:
a) the allocation of funds for premises which are accessible to the wider community, including for persons with disabilities. In certain circumstances, in order to promote independence and accessibility, this may require that offices are not collocated with other government agencies. Where possible, accessibility should be further enhanced by establishing a permanent regional presence;
b) salaries and benefits awarded to its staff comparable to those of civil servants performing similar tasks in other independent institutions of the State;
c) remuneration of members of its decision-making body (where appropriate);
d) the establishment of well-functioning communications systems including telephone and internet; and
e) the allocation of a sufficient amount of resources for mandated activities. Where the NHRI has been designated with additional responsibilities by the State, additional financial resources should be provided to enable it to assume the responsibilities of discharging these functions.
Government funding should be allocated to a separate budget line applicable only to the NHRI. Such funding should be regularly released and in a manner that does not impact adversely on its functions, day-to-day management and retention of staff.
Where a State has developed uniform rules or regulations to ensure State agencies are properly accountable for their use of public funds, the application of such rules is not considered inappropriate provided that they do not compromise the NHRIs ability to perform its role independently and effectively. The administrative requirements on a NHRI must be clearly defined and should be no more onerous than those applicable to other independent State agencies.”