The Shura Council Committee on Human Rights approved in its Sunday meeting amendments to the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) Law that would extend the council’s term and limit it to two terms only.
The amendments were proposed by Shura Member of Parliament Mohamed Al-Azab, who represents the Salafi Al-Nour Party, and were referred to Shura Council Speaker Ahmed Fahmy for the upper house to discuss in plenary after the committee passed it.
Al-Azab said the amendments were based on the recommendations of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which felt that the council’s current three-year term was too short and that the council should have term limits.
If adopted, the amendments will limit NCHR members to two terms and extend each term to five years. Al-Azab is also looking to empower the council by allowing it to file human rights-related lawsuits and perform prison inspections in accordance with the new powers the council is granted in the new constitution.
The NCHR is composed of a chairman and 26 other members, all appointed by the Shura Council. Al-Azab’s amendments empower NCHR members to elect the council’s deputy chairman but retain the Shura Council’s power to appoint the chairman directly.
The NCHR’s current chairman is former judge and Supreme Judiciary Council chief Hossam El-Gheriany who was also chairman of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the constitution.