“Article 56 of the Constitution provides that a member of the UHRC can be dismissed in the same manner as a judge of the High Court “with the necessary modifications”. The SCA notes that the meaning of this clause is not defined in the law.
The SCA is of the view that in order to address the Paris Principles requirements for a stable mandate, which is important in reinforcing independence, the enabling legislation of an NHRI must contain an independent and objective dismissal process.
The grounds for dismissal must be clearly defined and appropriately confined to only those actions which impact adversely on the capacity of the member to fulfil their mandate. Where appropriate, the legislation should specify that the application of a particular ground must be supported by a decision of an independent body with appropriate jurisdiction. The dismissal must be made in strict conformity with all the substantive and procedural requirements as prescribed by law.
The SCA is of the view that such requirements ensure the security of tenure of the members of the governing body and are essential to the independence of, and public confidence in, the senior leadership of an NHRI.
The SCA encourages the UHRC to continue to advocate for appropriate amendments to its enabling law to clarify the dismissal process.
The SCA refers to Paris Principle B.3 and to its General Observation 2.1 on ‘Guarantee of tenure for members of the NHRI decision-making body.’”