By: Nourhan Dakroury
The Human Rights Committee of the Shura Council approved new amendments to the law regulating the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) in their meeting on Sunday.
The NCHR started working on the amendments in October 2012, according to Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud, NCHR member and Muslim Brotherhood lawyer.
The first amendment changes the period of council membership to five years instead of three. The amendment also stipulates that council membership can only be held for two terms.
“We had members that had been part of the council ever since it was established,” Abdel Maqsoud said.
He said that the law stresses that the 26 council members must be of different backgrounds and political affiliations in order to achieve balanced decisions.
Abdel Maqsoud added that members failing to attend five council meetings will be excluded from the council.
He explained that this amendment was added to make sure that members are committed to the causes they are supporting through the NCHR.
A further amendment gives the council the right to file lawsuits in cases of violations against human rights and to be involved as a violated party, according to NCHR member Mohammed Damaty.
The council also has the right to visit prisons at any time to check on the treatment of prisoners and ensure that no human rights violations are taking place, said Damaty.
The final amendment stipulates that the vice chairman must be elected from amongst the 26 members, stressing the independence of the NCHR from the Shura Council, according to Abdel Maqsoud.
The council chairman will continue to be appointed by the Shura Council.