“In accordance to Section 3 (2) of the Act, the Board is comprised of thirteen (13) members who are appointed in their personal capacity by various authorities. Six are appointed by the Council of Human Rights, four by the Rectors of various universities, two by the Conference of Rectors under Universities Denmark and one elected by the employees of the DIHR. Further, Section 5 of the Act provides that the Council of Human Rights is composed to reflect the prevailing views among civil
society organizations working in the field of human rights, following a public announcement. The law is otherwise silent on the selection and appointment process.
The SCA took note that the Council of Human Rights of the DIHR has decided to change its appointment procedure and now publishes vacancies, calls for candidates amongst its membership, and that its chairmanship recommends six board members for the Council’s approval. However, the SCA notes that this process is not formalized in the DIHR’s legislation, in regulation, or in another binding administrative guideline.
In addition, the SCA notes that 4 members are appointed by 4 universities and 2 by the Conference of Rectors according to different criteria. The SCA acknowledges the DIHR’s view that to further circumscribe the process would interfere with the independence of the universities. However, the SCA is of the view that providing for different stakeholders to select members according to their rules of operation may result in different entities using different processes for selection, and that a consistent, transparent, merit-based and broadly consultative selection process should be used across all appointing entities.
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 DIHR to advocate for amendments to its enabling law to provide for a consistent, transparent, merit-based and broadly consultative selection and appointment process. In the interim, the SCA encourage the DIHR to consider policy and/or administrative options that would allow it to provide general guidance to nominating entities about their selection processes in a manner that both respects the principle of academic freedom and the requirements of the Paris Principles. This should include 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.”