“Section 45(2) of the 2013 Constitution of the Republic of Fiji (the Constitution) establishes that the HRADC consists of a Chairperson and four Commissioners, appointed by the President of the Republic, on the advice of the Constitutional Offices Commission.
The Constitutional Offices Commission, as established under section 132 of the Constitution, comprises the Prime Minister, the Attorney-General, the Leader of Opposition, two members appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister and one member appointed by the President on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition.
The SCA is of the view that the process enshrined in the Constitution is not sufficiently broad and transparent.
In particular, it does not:
– require the advertisement of vacancies for members; and
– specify the process for achieving broad consultation and/or participation in the application, screening, selection and appointment process.
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 HRADC 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.”