The parliament is likely to vote in favour of adopting a new law organising the work of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) after members of parliament gave preliminary approval during Monday’s session, state media reported.
Law 94/2003, expected to be updated, defines the role of the state-funded but independent council, as well as illustrating the structure of its board of directors and the system of appointing its members. The House of Representatives should designate NCHR’s president and vice president. The council includes another 25 members with expertise in human rights and law, representing different factions, such as national entities and professional syndicates.
According to the Constitution, laws should ensure the independence and neutrality of the council members, meaning granting legal personalities with technical, financial, and administrative independence.
Article 214 of the Constitution also stipulates that “each council shall have the right to report to the competent authorities any violations pertaining to their fields of work.”
Under the current leadership of Mohamed Fayeq—appointed in 2013—NCHR members have been concerned with several human rights issues, including the new NGOs Law and the conditions of prisoners.
In the past few years, NCHR members have struggled with the Ministry of Interior to be able to visit prisons, have been harassed, and—on several occasions—have been prevented from meeting some political detainees.
The new law supposedly guarantees prison inspections for NCHR members.