“The SCA notes that the current NCHR members’ terms have expired and that the former members have continued their duties pending the passage of the proposed amendments to the enabling law and the appointment of new members pursuant to those amendments.
In accordance with article 2 of the Law, the selection and appointment of the NCHR members is governed by the Shura Council.
The SCA is of the view that the selection process currently enshrined in the Law is not sufficiently broad and transparent. In particular, it does not:
– require the advertisement of vacancies;
– establish clear and uniform criteria upon which all parties assess the merit of eligible applicants; and
– specify the process for achieving broad consultation and/or participation in the application, screening, selection and appointment process.
The SCA notes that the draft Law provides that members should be selected from among public figures well-known for their experience, the independence of their opinion, and distinguished performance in the field of human rights. Further, the draft law includes requirements to advertise vacancies to allow concerned authorities relating to human rights to propose candidates and to ensure pluralism. Finally, in accordance with article 2(3) of the draft law, the Bureau of the House of Representatives examines the candidates and submits a list to Plenary of the House of Representatives for election. It appears that these amendments would address the above-noted concerns with respect to the advertisement of vacancies and the establishment of merit criteria. However, beyond the ability to propose candidates, it is unclear that a process would be in place to achieve broad consultation and/or participation in the application, screening, selection and appointment process.
The SCA encourages the NCHR to continue to advocate for the formalization and application of a process that includes requirements to:
a) Publicize vacancies broadly;
b) Maximize the number of potential candidates from a wide range of societal groups and educational qualifications;
c) Promote broad consultation and / or participation in the application, screening, selection and appointment process;
d) Assess applicants on the basis of pre-determined, objective and publicly-available criteria; and
e) Select members to serve in their individual capacity rather than on behalf of the organization they represent.”