Oman Human Rights Commission (OHRC) aims to establish a cooperative system between the government and society based on equality and justice in line with the basic statute of the State and the laws, legislations, conventions and treaties that have been signed by the Sultanate. OHRC seeks to participate in various activities in the civil society as well as coordinating with governmental and non-governmental institutions in number of human rights fields. The main responsibility of OHRC is to protect human rights in Oman through bridging between the civil society and the government.
Since the renaissance of Oman in 1970, the government and his majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said aimed at improving the conditions of all Omani people, develop the laws in line with people’s interests, protect their rights, provide prosperity and implement the principle of justice and equality. His majesty said in his speech in the 3rd National Day, “The Omani citizen is the end target of decent life, dignity and justice that is derived from the tolerant teachings of Islam”.
Human rights issues are among the most serious issues being discussed on an international level basically because they concern the whole world and its various peoples. Therefore, the United Nations is responsible for establishing the international treaties and agreements that aim to solidify the human rights principles and the basic freedoms as well as activate them on local and international levels. One of the main ways of achieving this vision by the UN is to invite the countries to establish national human rights institutions in order to activate the terms of the international human rights agreements in line with their governments method and, moreover, to encourage the cooperation between the institutions and organize forums in which they can exchange experience and work cooperatively.
These efforts ended up in establishing Oman Human Rights Commission upon the royal decree no. 124/2008. The royal decree sets the commission’s regulations, specializations, establishment mechanisms and structure.
Article 1 in the royal decree no. 10/2010 identified the commission’s members that represent various governmental and non-governmental institutions. NHRC consists of fourteen members representing the State Council, Shura Council, Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, General Federation of Oman Trade Unions, a member from the field of law, three representatives from non-governmental organizations, and representatives from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Manpower, and Ministry of Civil Services.
Article 7 of the royal decree no. 124/2008 defined the commission’s specializations as follows:
Observe human rights protection in Oman in line with the basic statute of the State and the international charters and conventions.
Follow up with the observations of foreign governments and international governmental and non-governmental organizations in relation to human rights in Oman and coordinate with the specified authorities to take the required actions.
Provide guidance to related authorities in the country in the issues related to human rights and freedoms and prepare the reports that discuss this field.
Monitor human rights violations in the country and take the necessary procedures for their settlement.
What are Human Rights?
The office of the United Nations high commissioner for human rights defined human rights as “rights inherent to all human beings regardless their race, color, sex, language, religion, political opinion, national or social origin or others (Article 2). According to the Basic Statute of State (article 17), "all citizens are equal before the law; they have equal public rights and duties regardless their sex, race, color, language, religion, doctrine or social status”. This article is the foundation of the Basic Statute in Oman.