“According to section 2 (3) of the NHRC Act, the Chairperson and the members of the Council are appointed by the President subject to confirmation by the Senate. The SCA notes that this provision is not explicit on the need to publicize vacancies, does not establish objective and merit-based criteria and does not require participation of civil society. 

The NHRC reports that it has engaged the Human Rights Committee of the National Assembly on the requirement to publicize vacancies as recommended by the SCA in November 2016. The SCA notes that the NHRC has sought the advice of OHCHR in the 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. 

Such a process should include requirements to: 

– Publicize vacancies broadly; 

– Maximize the number of potential candidates from a wide range of societal groups; 

– Promote broad consultation and/or participation in the application, screening, selection and appointment process; 

– Assess applicants on the basis of pre-determined, objective and publicly available criteria; and 

– Select members to serve in their own individual capacity rather than on behalf of the organization they represent. 

The SCA recommends that the NHRC continue to advocate for amendments to its enabling law to provide for a clear, transparent, and participatory selection and appointment process. 

The SCA refers to Paris Principle B.1 and to its General Observation 1.8 on ‘Selection and appointment of the decision-making body of NHRIs’.”