“Article 7 of the IHCHR Amended Law stipulates that the Council of Representatives shall form a Committee of Experts, of a maximum of 15 members, and that this Committee shall select members of the Board of Commissioners. It further stipulates in article 8(1) that an absolute majority of the Council of Representatives (the National Parliament) shall approve the selected members. In accordance with article 7(2), the Committee of Experts conducts the selection through a national communique.
The IHCHR reports that, in practice, announcements for vacancies are made in the gazettes, the media, and their website, and that the Committee of Experts establishes a shortlist. Applicants are then reviewed and a list of selected candidates is sent to the Council of Representatives for approval.
While the SCA acknowledges that the Committee of Experts has been composed of various stakeholders including civil society representatives, it remains concerned that the composition as described in the IHCHR Amended Law does not provide for a specified number of civil society or non-government representatives. This leaves open the possibility for the Committee of Experts to be comprised predominantly of government representatives.
The SCA is of the view that the process currently in place is not explicitly enshrined in the Law and is not sufficiently broad and transparent. In particular, it does not promote broad consultation and/or participation in the application, screening, selection, and appointment process for all members.
The SCA acknowledges the efforts made by the IHCHR to advocate for amendments to this aspect of the IHCHR Amended Law, which it encourages the IHCHR to continue.
The SCA is of the view that that 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 CNDH to advocate for the 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;
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.”