“While Section 5 of the Act requires gender representation when selecting and appointing representatives of the NHRC’s decision-making body, the SCA was not provided with evidence of provisions or practices that ensure ethnic, geographic, religious, and minority representation.

The SCA notes that pluralism and diversity in the membership and staff of an NHRI facilitates its appreciation of, and capacity to engage on, all human rights issues affecting the society in which it operates. In addition, it promotes the accessibility of the NHRI for all people in The Gambia.

Pluralism refers to broader representation of national society. Consideration should be given to ensuring pluralism in the context of gender, ethnicity, religious, geographic, or minority status. The SCA considers the pluralistic composition of the NHRI to be fundamentally linked to the requirement of independence, credibility, effectiveness, and accessibility.

The SCA further notes that where the members and staff of NHRIs are representative of a society’s social, ethnic, religious, and geographic diversity, the public are more likely to have confidence that the NHRI will understand and be more responsive to its specific needs.

The SCA encourages the NHRC to take steps to ensure pluralism in its membership composition.”