“In accordance with the 2015 Law (no. 12), the NHRC is comprised of no fewer than seven (7) civil society representatives and four (4) representatives from Government Ministries. All members are appointed by Emiri Decree. The 2015 Law also indicates that the civil society representatives should have experience and interest in human rights. The enabling legal framework is otherwise silent on the process and criteria used to determine the suitability of applicants. In March 2009, the SCA requested the NHRC to advocate for changes to its enabling legal framework to provide for a transparent, participatory, and merit-based selection process.
While the NHRC has formed its own selection committee, which included representatives from the Shura Council, to nominate candidates for appointment, and has also advocated for changes to its enabling legal framework, the SCA notes that the recommendations it made in 2009 and 2015 with regard to selection and appointment remain unaddressed. The SCA reiterates its recommendations formulated in previous reviews that a transparent, participatory, merit-based selection process should be entrenched in the enabling legal framework.
In particular, the current legal framework does not:
– require the advertisement of vacancies;
– maximise the number of potential candidates from a wide range of societal groups
– establish clear and uniform criteria upon which the Selection Committee assesses the merit of applicants; and
– promote 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 NHRC 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.”