“The NIHRC legal framework does not vest the institution with the statutory power to conduct unannounced visits to places of deprivation of liberty. The NIHRC informed the SCA that, in practice, it works closely with national bodies with a mandate to carry out unannounced visits to places of deprivation of liberty, such as the Justice Inspector and Prison Ombudsman. The NIHRC also reported that it has conducted announced visits to places of deprivation of liberty. The SCA notes that providing the NIHRC with the ability to conduct unannounced visits to places of deprivation of liberty would require amendments to the NIHRC’s enabling law.
The SCA encourages the NIHRC to continue to access all places of deprivation of liberty, including without prior notice. It further encourages the NIHRC to effectively monitor, investigate, and report on the human rights situation in places of deprivation of liberty in a timely manner, and to undertake systematic follow-up activities and advocate for the consideration and implementation of its findings and recommendations in order to ensure the protection of those detained.
The SCA refers to Paris Principles A.3 and D(d), and to its General Observation 1.2 on ‘Human rights mandate’ and General Observation 1.6 on ‘Recommendations by NHRIs.”