“The SCA recognises the efforts undertaken by the INCHR to increase gender balance within the Commission and the report by the INCHR that it will aim to hire 60% women in its future recruitment efforts. The SCA emphasizes that a diverse decision-making and staff body facilitates the NHRI’s appreciation of, and capacity to engage on, all human rights issues affecting the society in which it operates, and promotes the accessibility of the NHRI for all citizens.
Pluralism refers to broader representation of national society. Consideration must be given to ensuring pluralism in the context of gender, ethnicity and minority status. This includes ensuring the equitable participation of women in the NHRI.
The SCA notes that there are diverse models for ensuring the requirement of pluralism in the composition of the NHRI as set out in the Paris Principles. For example:
a) Members of the decision-making body represent different segments of society as referred to in the Paris Principles. Criteria for membership of the decision-making body should be legislatively established, be made publicly available and subject to consultation with all stakeholders, including civil society. Criteria that may unduly narrow and restrict the diversity and plurality of the composition of the NHRI’s membership should be avoided;
b) Pluralism through the appointment procedures of the governing body of the NHRIs, for example, where diverse societal groups suggest or recommend candidates;
c) Pluralism through procedures enabling effective cooperation with diverse societal groups, for example advisory committees, networks, consultations or public forums; or
d) Pluralism through staff that are representative of the diverse segments of society. This is particularly relevant for single member Institutions, such as an Ombudsperson.
The SCA encourages the INCHR to continue its efforts to increase pluralism in its composition, including appropriate gender balance.”