ENNHRI recalls international standards applicable to the selection and appointment of a head of NHRI
ENNHRI reiterates that relevant international standards must be respected during the selection and appointment of new Heads of NHRIs and during any associated transitional period. This is necessary to ensure the independence, pluralism and effectiveness of NHRIs.
On 9 September 2020, the term of the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights ended. According to the establishing legislation of the Polish NHRI, the current Commissioner performs his duties until the new Commissioner takes up his position. Despite attempts following the selection and appointment procedure established in the Constitution, a new Commissioner has not yet been appointed at the time of writing.
In October 2020, ENNHRI issued an Opinion at the request of the Office of the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights on the international standards and regional practices applicable to the transitional period during the selection and appointment of the head of an NHRI.
Due to the current situation faced by the Polish NHRI, ENNHRI is publishing a Statement, to reiterate its message that relevant international standards must be respected during the selection and appointment of new Heads of NHRIs and during any associated transitional period.
In particular, ENNHRI reiterates the following points:
- The constitutional procedures for the selection and appointment of the new Polish Commissioner for Human Rights must not be circumvented.
- Relevant international standards, such as the UN Paris Principles and the SCA General Observations, must be respected during the selection and appointment of new Head of NHRIs.
- Selection and appointment processes must be transparent, participatory, and based on pre-determined and objective criteria. They must ensure the NHRI can fulfil its mandate in an independent and effective manner.
- In particular, vacancies should be widely publicised, the process should include candidates from a wide range of societal groups and ensure broad consultation.
- Changes to the legislative provisions affecting NHRIs – including in relation to the selection, appointment, and mandate of Head of NHRIs – require a careful consideration of its compliance with the UN Paris Principles and prior effective consultation with all parties concerned, including a strong role for the NHRI itself.
- The direct appointment of the head of the NHRI, without a clear, transparent, merit-based and participatory selection and appointment process, would severely impact on the independence, effectiveness, and public confidence in the NHRI.
ENNHRI is available for any further clarification on the applicable international standards. For more information, contact Katrien Meuwissen