“In accordance with Article 2 of the Law, the selection process to nominate the Head of the Defensoría del Pueblo should be carried out by a bicameral commission formed by 7 Congress members and 7 Senate members. The bicameral commission revises the candidatures and must propose 1 to 3 candidates to the Senate and to the Congress. Within the next 30 days both the Senate and the Congress shall select and appoint the Defensor by 2/3 of votes.
The SCA notes that the process for selection and appointment currently 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
– promote 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’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 DPNA 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.”