“The Human Rights Committee (CCPR/C/EGY/CO/5) in 2023 expressed concerns about the lack of safeguards to ensure the NCHR full independence and effectiveness as well as concern on allegations that visits to places of deprivation of liberty by the NCHR are often denied and, when granted, are prearranged, and do not allow for unhindered access or confidential interviews with detainees. These concerns were also shared by the Committee against Torture in 2023 (CAT/C/EGY/Q/5/Add.1) and the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt (A/HRC/36/12) in 2017.
The NCHR reported that it regularly conducts announced visits places of detention. The NCHR also states that these visits are facilitated by the Minister of Interior who helps them in accessing detainees records as well as providing immediate relief to detainees that may be required. The NCHR indicated that it has conducted 15 visits since the beginning of 2023 while there are more than 150 places of deprivation of liberty across the country. However, the SCA has not received substantive evidence of actions and follow-up by the NCHR regarding human rights violations in these facilities.
The SCA highlights that an NHRI’s mandate should authorize unannounced and free access to inspect and examine any public premises, documents, equipment, and assets without prior written notice.
In fulfilling its protection mandate, the NCHR is encouraged to address and seek to prevent actual human rights violations. Such functions include monitoring, inquiring, investigating and reporting on human rights violations, and may include individual complaint handling. Therefore, the SCA encourages the NCHR to continue to advocate for the explicit mandate to conduct unannounced visits to all places of detention.
The SCA refers to Paris Principles A.1, A.2, and A.3, and its General Observation 1.2 on ‘Human rights mandate’.’”