“The SCA acknowledges that following the amendment of the Establishment Law in 2016, the NIHRB was vested with the statutory power to perform unannounced visits to places of deprivation of liberty. 

The SCA received various third-party submissions that raised concerns about the independence and effectiveness of the NIHRB in addressing human rights violations, including torture and arbitrary detention. The NIHRB responded to these allegations by stating that it has taken all necessary steps in discharging its mandate under Article 12 of its Establishment Law and monitors, follows up, engages, and communicates with government agencies and official authorities on issues related to human rights. The NIHRB reported that it had undertaken various interventions with authorities to respond to a recent hunger strike in Bahrain’s main prison, which included engagement with the media. 

The NIHRB 2022 annual report indicates that it has received 80 complaints related to economic, social, and cultural rights, of which five complaints related the right to work, and has provided 306 cases of legal assistance on various human rights cases. The NIHRB reported that it has received 275 complaints relating to women’s rights and has successfully advocated for legislative changes to allow for Bahraini women to pass on citizenship to their children. 

While noting that the NIHRB addresses individual complaints and conducted some visits to detention centres, the SCA considers that the NIHRB has still not provided sufficient evidence of its work addressing serious human rights violations, including torture and arbitrary detention. The SCA urges the NIHRB to broaden and strengthen its efforts to address serious human rights violations to ensure compliance with the Paris Principles. 

The SCA notes that NHRIs are expected to promote and ensure respect for the human rights of all individuals in all circumstances and without exception. 

The SCA refers to Paris Principles A.1, A.2, and A.3 and its General Observation 1.2 on ‘Human rights mandate’ and General Observation 1.6 on ‘Recommendations by NHRIs’.”