“Section 3(1) of the UHRC Act provides that the Chairperson and members of the UHRC are appointed by the President with the approval of Parliament. The UHRC reports that the Minister of Justice receives applications and with the approval of Cabinet sends a shortlist of candidates to the President for appointment. Further, that appointed candidates are publicly interviewed and vetted by Parliament.
The SCA notes that the selection and appointment process is not sufficiently transparent and participatory. In particular, it does not:
– Require the publicising of vacancies;
– Promote broad consultation and participation of civil society; and
– Provide for a merit criteria for the appointment of members of the UHRC.
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 and participatory selection, and ensures pluralism is necessary to ensure the independence of, and public confidence in, the senior leadership of an NHRI.
The SCA notes the information provided by the UHRC, that proposed amendments to its enabling law are before the Minister of Justice.
The SCA encourages the UHRC to continue to advocate for the formalization and application of a clear, transparent, and participatory selection and appointment process that includes the requirements to publicize vacancies, promote broad consultation and / or participation in the application, screening, selection, and appointment process and provide a merit criteria for appointment of members of the UHRC.
The SCA refers to Paris Principle B.1 and to its General Observation 1.8 on ‘Selection and appointment of the decision-making body of NHRIs’.”