“Article 2 of the 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. Article 2(bis) provides that the General Committee of the House of Representatives examines the candidates and submits a list to the House of Representatives for election taking into consideration the adequate representation of all forces of the society. The House of Representatives, with the approval of the majority of its members, elects the President, the Vice-President, and the members of the Council. Subsequently, the President of the Republic issues a decree regarding the composition of the Council.
SCA is of the view that the selection process currently enshrined in the existing legislation 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 is also of the view that providing for different stakeholders to select members according to their rules of operation may result in different entities using different processes for selection, and that a consistent, transparent, merit-based and broadly consultative selection process should be used across all appointing entities.
It is critically important to ensure the formalization of a clear, transparent and participatory selection and appointment process for an NHRI’s decision-making body in relevant legislation, regulations or binding administrative guidelines, as appropriate. A process that promotes merit-based selection and ensures pluralism is necessary to ensure the independence of, and public confidence in, the senior leadership of an NHRI.
The SCA encourages the NCHR to advocate for formalization and application of a uniform 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; and
d) Assess applicants on the basis of pre-determined, objective and publicly available criteria.
The SCA notes that the mandates of the current members have expired and that new members will need to be appointed. It encourages the NCHR to advocate for this to happen as soon as possible, using a consistent, transparent and participatory process.”