Factsheet on the establishment of the National Independent Human Rights Commission

What is the Somali Independent Human Rights Commission?

The Somali Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC) is an independent national institution which will have the mandate to protect, promote and advocate for human rights of all in Somalia. The commissions mandate is set forth in the Somali Provisional Constitution and the National Independent Human Rights Commission Law enacted in 2016.

Is the Human Rights Commission Law now in effect?

Yes. The draft Human Rights Commission bill establishing the commission was signed into law on 14 August 2016 in a Ceremony presided over by former the President. With the signing of the bill, the Federal Government of Somalia has been enabled to establish the Commission in accordance with the law.

How many members will be in the IHRC?

The IHRC will consist of nine (9) Commissioners, of which at least 3 women and 1 member from the disabled community. The law lays down the criteria to be followed in establishing the commission. This law ensures that the commission is independent, credible and representative in order to effectively protect and promote human rights in Somalia

Does the Government appoint the members of IHRC?

No. The members of the commission will be selected based on the criteria in the law, reflecting regional representation. The criteria for selecting the Commissioners is outlined in article 8 of the HRC Law. This criteria will be used by the selection panel to determine which applicants are most eligible to hold office as Commissioners. The appointment process promises is challenging given the likely high number of applicants and the need to guard the process to protect its independence while ensuring utmost transparency. To ensure this happens in accordance with the law, the ministry has consulted with federal states, which consulted with civil society organisations and nominated 19 members who are believed to be of high integrity.

What is the role of the Ministry of Women and Human Rights in the selection?

The Ministry will only work to facilitate the panel that will conduct the selection process, it is not part of this panel and has therefore no voting right on the candidates. The Minister will however officially open the selection process and once selection is concluded, present the selected candidates to the Cabinet for approval. Subsequently, the Minister will submit the list for parliamentary approval, which can approve or reject the list. If the proposed commoners are rejected by parliament, the temporary selection panel shall reconvene to select and propose a new list of commissioners. 

How does the selection take place?

The process of selection is set out in the Human Rights Commission Law and has been broken down as below for an overview:

Although the below-mentioned periods are stated in the bill and are legally binding, the government may decide to add some time to guarantee a fair, transparent and impartial selection process.

Within 30 days after signing: the Minister of Human Rights will establish the Temporary Selection Panel (TSP) consisting of 19 members. This will be done while consulting the federal states and civil society. Concluded
The Ministry of Human Rights will observe the meetings of the TPS and facilitate their work. The Minister is a non-voting member. Concluded
14 day days after the selection of the TPS, the Minister of Human Rights will convene their first meeting to initiate the induction process of the TSP and the Commissioners selection process Concluded
Within 7 days after their first meeting the TPS will announce the opening of the application for Commissioners, this application period will be open for 30 days. Pending
Within 21 days after the closing of application period the TPS will reconvene to conclude the interview and selection process for the Commissioners and announce the 9 selected members of the Commission. The minister will then dismantle the TSP till further notice if necessary. Pending
Within 14 days after the selection of the 9 members the Minister of Human Rights will bring the names of the 9 proposed members before the Cabinet and request for a vote Pending
Within 7 days after Cabinet approval, the Cabinet will request the Parliament to approve the list of Commissioners Pending
The parliament has 14 days time to take a vote on the proposed list. If the parliament is closed, the vote will need to happen within the first 14 days after the parliamentary sessions open. Pending