“In accordance with article 12 of the Law, the President and members of the CNDH are appointed by a Presidential decree based on the proposals of various ministries, institutions, professional and civil society organizations. The SCA notes that the legislative amendments establish a selection committee comprising CNDH President, one representative of the Mauritanian Bar Association, one law professor of Nouakchott Al Aasriya University and two civil society representatives.
The SCA notes that it has received information from civil society and from the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights that the composition of the CNDH, and the absence of an explanation as to why particular organizations have been chosen to nominate members, has resulted in a lack of independence in the decision-making body.
The SCA notes that the CNDH disputes the characterization of its decision-making body as lacking independence and indicates that its selection and appointment process is clear, transparent and participatory.
The SCA is of the view that, while the new provisions in the law have addressed some of the concerns raised in November 2016, they are not sufficient to address the substance of its previously-stated concerns, which related to the independence of the 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 CNDH 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.”