“The SCA welcomes the introduction of Article 36(2) of the Proclamation, which provides for the approval of the EHRC’s annual budget by the House of Peoples’ Representatives. Further, Article 36(3) states that the EHRC enjoys full financial autonomy to administer its budget.
While the SCA acknowledges that the EHRC has undertaken activities within its existing budget, it notes that the EHRC has reported that it does not have sufficient funding, particularly in view of its efforts towards restructuring of the institution, as well as strengthening its staff technical capacity to fully discharge its mandate.
The SCA emphasizes that, to function effectively, an NHRI must be provided with an appropriate level of funding in order to guarantee its ability to freely determine its priorities and activities. In particular, adequate funding should, to a reasonable degree, ensure the gradual and progressive realization of improvement in the NHRI’s operations and the fulfilment of its mandate.
Provision of adequate funding by the State should, at a minimum, include the following:
a) The allocation of funds for premises that are accessible to the wider community, including for persons with disabilities. In certain circumstances, in order to promote independence and accessibility, this may require that offices are not co-located with government agencies. Where possible, accessibility should be further enhanced by establishing a permanent regional presence;
b) Salaries and benefits awarded to staff comparable to those of civil servants performing similar tasks in other independent institutions of the State;
c) Remuneration of members of the decision-making body (where appropriate);
d) The establishment of a well-functioning communications system including telephone and internet; and
e) The allocation of a sufficient amount of resources for mandated activities.
The SCA encourages the EHRC to continue to advocate for an increase of its budget allocation and an appropriate level of funding to carry out its mandate.“