“Article 54 of the Constitution establishes that the Defensor is appointed by the Parliament. Articles 2 and 4 of the Law contain the provisions for the selection and appointment of the Defensor for a five-year term by a Joint Congress-Senate Committee. The DPS reports that, in practice, the vacancy is broadly advertised in the Official Gazette and the media, allowing civil society engagement, and guaranteeing its transparency and broad participation.

The SCA is of the view that the selection process as currently formalized in the existing Law is not sufficiently broad and transparent. It does not: – require the advertisement of vacancies; – specify the process for achieving broad consultation and/or participation in the application, screening, 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 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 reiterates its previous recommendation made in 2018 and encourages the DPS to continue to advocate for the explicit formalization and application of a selection 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; 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 NHRIs’.”