“Section 11(d) of the HRCSL Act empowers the HRCSL to visit all places of deprivation of liberty, however it is silent on whether these visits are announced or unannounced. The HRCSL notes that, in practice, it conducts unannounced visits to places of deprivation of liberty. The HRCSL also reports that it regularly monitors police stations, prisons, child detention centres and women’s detention centres.

The SCA is of the view that an NHRI should be mandated to conduct ‘unannounced’ visits to all places of detention within its jurisdiction, as this limits opportunities for detaining authorities to hide or obscure human rights violations and facilitates greater scrutiny.

While the SCA notes that the HRCSL carries out unannounced visits in practice, it recommends the HRCSL to advocate for amendments to the HRCSL Act to provide it with the express power to conduct such visits without providing prior notice to authorities.

The SCA also encourages the HRCSL to continue to access all places of deprivation of liberty to effectively monitor, investigate and report on the human rights situation in a timely manner.

The SCA refers to Paris Principles A.3 and D(d) and to its General Observation 1.2 on the ‘Human rights mandate’.”