Human Rights Protection Guarantees Stability

The enormous political transformations that took place in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Jordan, shows that depriving people of their political, economic, social and cultural rights will result in insecurity, protests and political instability. The protestors’ demands were in line with international human rights conventions, which were signed but not applied by most Arab regimes.

No Arab regime is immune from the repercussions of what took place in Tunisia and Egypt. The stability of these regimes varies from one country to another, the closer a regime is to its people, and the more it applies human rights, the more immune it will become against instability.

It is necessary to stress that human rights entail political, economic, social and cultural aspects which are inseparable. All these aspects are linked together and should not be dealt with separately. Governments should not base policies or develop programmes that concentrate on one aspect and ignore the rest. Some Arab regimes refuse to make any political concessions in the hope that social and economic reforms will suffice. Based on experience, this type of policy has failed miserably because human rights are indivisible, as the various human rights instruments clearly indicate.

Civil and political rights cannot be dismissed or delayed based on the pretext of improving the living standards of citizens. Delaying political reforms will ultimately lead to delays in economic development. How can an economy flourish under a regime that oppresses citizens, restricts their freedom of expression and assembly, oppresses trade unions, silences journalists and has corrupted state institutions!?

Democracy and democratization becomes useless if the government apparatus does not make concrete efforts in achieving economic and social rights. Democracy will not last in an environment beset by poverty, bad services and high rates of unemployment. In summary, there is need to develop the political, economic, social, cultural and civil fields simultaneously.

Bahrain’s reform experience, which began a decade ago, has given the country ample time and opportunities to reinforce its stability. Other Arab countries lack similar experience and hence are not fully protected from instability. Stability can only be achieved by encouraging more political, economic, social and cultural reforms, which can reduce tension and maintain the country’s security.

More efforts need to be exerted in order to fulfil the needs of citizens, especially the new generation. The demands of the new generation are increasing all the time; they want better education, health, work, housing, political and civil rights. They need to be encouraged to participate in the political reform project, in order to contribute in building a safe, stable, free and democratic Bahrain.