“During the October 2021 session, the SCA conducted an interview with the NHRC in which it was asked to provide responses in relation to the following issues:
– The process by which selection and appointment of commissioners took place;
– The status of the appeal before the Supreme Court on the legality of the Ordinance; and
– What the NHRC has done since the repeal of the Ordinance by the new administration to address the concerns regarding selection and appointment by the Constitutional Council.
The SCA acknowledges that the NHRC reported that the selection and appointment process was conducted according to Articles 248 and 292 of the Constitution of Nepal and in line with the Ordinance issued by the President. The SCA further acknowledges that the aforementioned Ordinance was later repealed after a change in administration. However, the SCA remains concerned that the appointment process of the current NHRC members did not meet the requirements of the Paris Principles and could adversely impact the actual and perceived institutional independence of the NHRC, as well as threaten the stability of the institution into the future. Therefore, the SCA defers its review of NHRC, pending the decision of the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court on the legality of the recent appointments.
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 NHRC to continue 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.”