“Section 13 of the Act provides for the Commissioners’ selection and appointment process.
The SCA notes that Section 13(6) provides that the Minister shall agree with the Public Appointments Service the selection criteria and process to be implemented in respect of the filling of any vacancy on the Commission. The SCA notes that while Section 13 provides certain requirements for the selection and appointment process, including the requirements to ensure diversity and pluralism and the publicizing of the vacancies, the law is silent on a permanent selection criteria and process. Moreover, the process currently enshrined in law 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, particularly by civil society; and
– Assess applicants on the basis of pre-determined and objective criteria.
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 IHREC to advocate for the formalization and application of a process that includes requirements to:
a) Maximize the number of potential candidates from a wide range of societal groups and educational qualifications;
b) Promote broad consultation and/ or participation in the application, screening, selection and appointment process;
c) Assess applicants on the basis of pre-determined, objective and publicly-available criteria; and
d) Select members to serve in their individual capacity rather than on behalf of the organization they represent.
The SCA encourages the IHREC to advocate for the formalization and application of a uniform process that ensures the broad participation of civil society in the selection and appointment process and the assessment of applicants on the basis of pre-determined and objective criteria.”