Constitutional Provisions

The 1996 Constitution of Oman (as amended) does not explicitly protect the right to life. Article 20 of the Constitution prohibits torture:

No person shall be subjected to physical or psychological torture, inducement or demeaning treatment. The Law stipulates punishment of whomever commits such acts.

According to Article 32, "The Citizens have the right to assemble within the limits of the Law."

With respect to the police and other law enforcement agencies, Article 14 stipulates that:

Only the State establishes the armed forces, public security authorities and any other forces. All these forces belong to the Nation and their mission is to protect the State, ensure the safety of its territories, and guarantee the security and tranquillity of the Citizens. It is not permissible for any authority or group to establish military or paramilitary formations. The Law shall regulate the military service, general or partial mobilization, and the rights, duties, and rules of discipline of the armed forces, public security authorities, and any other forces the State decides to establish.

Treaty Adherence

Global Treaties

Adherence to Selected Human Rights Treaties
1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)     Not party
ICCPR Optional Protocol 1 N/A
1984 Convention against Torture (CAT) Not party
Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints N/A
CAT Optional Protocol 1 N/A
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties
1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Signatory

Regional Treaties

Adherence to Regional Human Rights Treaties
2004 Arab Charter of Human Rights Not party

National Legislation

Police Use of Force

Law enforcement in Oman is conducted primarily by the Royal Oman Police. The Royal Oman Police was heavily criticised for its role in the 2011 Omani protests. On 28 February 2011, in Sohar, 250 kilometres north of Muscat, the police were said to have opened fire on protesters. Under international law, police use of firearms is only lawful where it is necessary to counter an imminent threat to life or of serious injury or a proximate and grave threat to life.

The 1999 Code of Criminal Procedure of Oman allows all necessary force to effect an arrest.Art. 44, 1999 Code of Criminal Procedure of Oman.The Code further specifies that an arrested person "shall be treated in a manner that preserves his honour". There is no prohibition on the use of disproportionate force.

Oman's Penal Code was updated in 2018.

Police Oversight

There is no independent civilian police oversight body in Oman.

Caselaw

Global

Oman is not a party to either the ICCPR or the CAT. In 2015, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, reported claims of restrictions on assembly, excessive use of force by the police, threats, arbitrary arrests, abductions, detentions in secret locations and torture at the hands of the authorities. 

His concerns were heightened by reports from non-governmental organizations and the media about an unprecedented use of force and mass arrests of peaceful protestors who
had gathered in Muscat and Sohar in January and February 2011 to demand, inter alia, better working conditions, higher standards of education, the end of corruption, and economic and political reforms. Furthermore, reports indicated that a massive peaceful protest had been violently dispersed by the police in Sohar in April 2011.

Regional

There is no regional human rights body with jurisdiction to hear complaints about the police in Oman.

Downloads

1996 Constitution of Oman (as amended) (English translation)

1999 Code of Criminal Procedure of Oman

Penal Code of Oman (Arabic original)

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association (2015)