Welfare and the National Charter

On the tenth anniversary of the National Action Charter, BHRM issued a statement in which it stated that the Charter contains general principles that protect citizens’ rights. These include political participation through nominations and elections: “all citizens, men and women, have the right to participate in public affairs and politics, including the right to nominate and elect”. The statement added that citizens also have economic and social rights as well as the right to live in dignity without humiliation, oppression and torture. The National Charter protects Bahraini citizens against: arbitrary detention, illegal house search, restriction on the right to freedom of movement, ill-treatment and torture, and restriction on the right to choose a residence.

The statement also added that the National Action Charter put into place the theoretical framework for legislative reforms in the country, and hence reduced tension and opened new horizons for citizens. Citizens were able to participate in three consecutive council and parliamentary elections. Trade Unions, civil society institutions and political parties were established and the margin of freedom grew as a result of the reforms. The statement also stressed the importance of civil society institutions, which the Charter legitimized and encouraged due to their important role in democratic life.

The statement continued to say that the Charter created a human rights atmosphere, which is continually expanding, and has lead to the adoption of legal and legislative amendments. Additionally, the Charter resulted in Bahrain signing international human rights conventions, in order to promote human rights. BHRM also called upon citizens to read the Charter so that they understand their rights. This will reinvigorate civil society institutions and political activism in order to achieve qualitative progress in Bahrain.

Finally, BHRM stressed the need to revive some issues concerning the economic and social rights, which directly affect the welfare of citizens. The Government is obliged to monitor the performance of ministries, especially during economic crisis and inflation. There is a great need for the Government to subsidise basic goods, increase wages and take care of citizens with special needs.