“Article 255(f) of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure regulates that the nomination of candidates for Ombudsperson are submitted by a minimum of ten and maximum of 30 members of Parliament. Article 257 (b) of the Rules of Procedure mandates public hearings for Ombudsperson candidates. The PDJ reports that in practice, there is considerable media coverage prior to the parliamentary hearing, allowing civil society and the wider public to give input by providing comments and opinions on the candidates.

The SCA acknowledges that Article 163(h) of the Constitution and Article 5(1) of the Statute of the Ombudsman requires a qualified majority of votes for the election of the Ombudsperson and that the PDJ reports that this implies the existence of a large consensus within the Parliament for the election of the PDJ.

However, the SCA continues to be of the view, as per its 2017 recommendations, that the current selection and appointment process enshrined in the enabling law is not sufficiently broad and transparent. In particular, it does not: – require the advertisement of vacancies; – establish clear and uniform criteria upon which all parties assess the merit of eligible applicants; and – specify the process for achieving broad consultation and/or participation in the application, screening, selection and appointment process.

The SCA emphasises that it is critically important to ensure the formalization of a clear, transparent and participatory selection and appointment process for the Provedor 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 a national human rights institution.

 The SCA encourages the PDJ to advocate for the formalization of the selection process for the Provedor in relevant legislation, regulations or binding administrative guidelines, and for its subsequent application in practice. This should include requirements to: a) Publicize vacancies broadly; b) Maximize the number of potential candidates from a wide range of societal groups; c) Promote broad consultation and / or participation in the application, screening, selection and appointment process; and d) Assess applicants on the basis of pre-determined, objective and publicly available criteria.

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 a NHRI’.”