“The law is silent on the requirement for pluralism and representation of women within the PDDH membership and staff. 

Diversity in the membership and staff of an NHRI facilitates its appreciation of, and capacity to engage on, all human rights issues affecting the society in which it operates. In addition, it 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 or minority status. This includes, for example, 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 continues to encourage the PDDH to advocate for the inclusion in its enabling law of provisions requiring pluralism in its membership and staff.”