Establishment of the Commission:
Established pursuant to Council of Ministers Decision No. 207 of 12 September 2005, the Commission is vested with extensive powers, pursuant to its Statutes, to promote and protect human rights in accordance with international standards, to increase awareness of such rights and to contribute to ensuring that such rights are enforced in the light of the sharia. It is the government body responsible for issuing opinions and advice on human rights matters.
The Commission enjoys full independence in the performance of its statutory functions, which include:
- Ascertaining that the relevant government bodies are implementing current laws and regulations on human rights, and investigating any abuses that constitute violations of human rights;
- Giving opinions on bills of law on human rights issues;
- Monitoring government bodies to ensure that they are applying and implementing the international human rights instruments ratified by Saudi Arabia within their respective areas of competence;
- Visiting prisons and places of detention at any time, without requiring permission from the relevant authority, and reporting thereon to the Prime Minister;
- Receiving and verifying human rights complaints and taking the requisite statutory action thereon
- Formulating general policy to promote awareness of human rights.
- In 2010, the Commission established a special unit for the human rights of persons with disabilities, staffed by persons with disabilities and by a number of activists in that field. The function of the unit is to ensure that the authorities responsible for providing services to persons with disabilities implement the provisions set out in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Further information on the role of this unit will be provided in the part of this report on article 33 concerning national implementation and monitoring.