“During the SCA session, the DIHR indicated that its core mandate is promotion rather than protection.
The SCA notes that section 2 of the Act provides the DIHR with a mandate to protect human rights, and that in its application, the DIHR has provided examples of activities it undertakes that it considers to be protection functions.
All NHRIs should be legislatively mandated with specific functions to both promote and protect human rights. The SCA understands ‘protection’ functions as those that address and seek to prevent actual human rights violations. Such functions include monitoring, inquiring, investigating and reporting on human rights violations, and may include individual complaint handling.
The SCA encourages the DIHR to interpret their protection mandate in a broad manner and to conduct a range of protection activities including monitoring, enquiring, investigating and reporting. The SCA further encourages the DIHR to provide additional information regarding how it discharges its protection mandate.
Furthermore, the SCA notes that the enabling legislation does not explicitly provide the DIHR with a mandate to encourage ratification or accession to international human rights instruments.
The SCA is of the view that encouraging ratification of, or accession to, international human rights instruments is a key function of an NHRI.
While the SCA acknowledges that the DIHR is interpreting its mandate broadly and that it undertakes this role in practice, it encourages the DIHR to advocate for amendments to the enabling legislation to provide the DIHR with an explicit mandate to encourage ratification or accession to international human rights instruments.”