Shafaei to Al Arbiya Net:
Bassiouni’s Recommendations will Save Bahrain from Sectarianism
and Political Stalemate
What are the difficulties facing the implementation
of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of
Inquiry (BICI) known locally as Bassiouni’s Commission?
Acceptance of the report by all parties, the Government and the
opposition, is the first difficulty that lies ahead. The Government
has already welcomed and accepted the report. However, until this
moment there is no confirmation that the opposition will participate
in the new appointed commission to implement Bassiouni’s recommendations.
The second difficulty is that it is still unclear what mechanisms
to be used to implement the recommendations.
The third problem relates to the connection between the political
and human rights issues. Some believe in the importance of working
on the two levels at the same time in order to re-build the lost
trust between various Bahraini political groups. Others think that
any progress made in implementing Bassiouni’s report in the human
rights field will help build the trust and pave the way for a peaceful
and consensual solution to the political crisis. Generally, the
solution and the implementation of the recommendations are in the
hands of the Executive Authority now.
In your opinion, will the Government implement all
the report’s recommendations even those directed to some Government
I think the King who requested the establishment of the Commission,
bravely faced its result and publically announced it during international,
human rights and media presence. I do not think he is not serious
enough to implement these recommendations which I believe are in
the best interest of the State and social coexistence. I hope that
there is seriousness in the implementation especially since the
whole world is watching. It is worth remembering that HM the King
took some very important steps even before the issuing of the report
such as setting up a compensation fund to compensate those affected
by the events. In addition to the issuing of a royal decree to set
up a national commission in order to put forward a plan to implement
Which Government ministries do you think are going
to undergo changes in their structure due to Bassiouni’s report?
There is a great need to adhere to the report’s recommendations
with regards to ministries and Government apparatus. It is in the
interest of Bahrain and especially after this bad experience to
revise the performance of its apparatus and take all the necessary
steps to improve them for the sake of a better future. This means
making administrative, institutional and legislative changes which
suit the current phase. This is exactly what was discussed by several
officials including HM the King.
How do you assess the Government’s performance in
dealing with the crisis since its beginning?
The performance of the Government, the opposition, civil society
organizations and the media was disappointing. Bassiouni’s report
revealed many mistakes committed by all parties including the Government,
opposition and the media. Admitting mistakes is a brave thing, but
what is more important is working towards building a better future,
trying to improve the situation and avoiding making the same mistakes.
How can we guarantee that the recommendations of
the report will be implemented and this will contribute to the development
of human rights in Bahrain and solve the political crisis, especially
since some groups have expressed some reservations regarding the
It was expected that some would have reservations regarding Bassiouni’s
report such as the Alliance for the Republic in Bahrain as well
as some Sunni groups. The implementation of Bassiouni’s recommendations
will save the whole country including the state institutions, opposition
and Bahraini people from sectarianism and political deadlock.
The world awaits practical steps to solve the problem and it
is obvious that cooperation between the opposition and the Government
will facilitate this and help rebuild trust between political parties.
In order for the recommendations to be implemented, the street must
calm down and the media must also act wisely. The report is not
against a particular party and the implementation of the recommendations
will not target a specific group. It is necessary to provide a suitable
atmosphere and have honest intentions. Perhaps there are foreign
parties that reject the report. However, ultimately this matter
depends on the performance of the Government and the position of
the people of Bahrain with all its social segments.
To what extent will the report convince international
human right organizations and how will they perceive Bahrain in
the future if it goes ahead with implementing Bassiouni’s recommendations?
International human rights organizations completely supported
Bassiouni’s report and any step towards implementing its recommendations
because this will result in more human rights respect. It is certain
that each step taken by the Government to implement these recommendations
will be welcomed by human rights activists inside and outside Bahrain.
By doing this the Government will gain more trust and help restore
Bahrain’s image as a moderate and tolerant state which respects
law and democracy. We hope that this will lead to more trust between
the Government and the opposition, a more moderate street and a
peaceful and mature solution.
Do you think the report will improve the performance
of the Executive apparatus and encourage them to prevent human right
abuses in the future?
This is what we hope for, otherwise the report is useless if
the situation does not improve, this is something that HM the King
stressed in his last speech. The Government, Bahraini people and
security bodies went through a difficult experience. Security forces
and institutions should learn to adhere to the law and prepare competent
staff members in order to prevent the occurrence of human rights
violations as stated in the Bahraini Constitution, National Action
Charter and international conventions ratified by Bahrain. Anything
that takes place that is against the law will corrupt the State
and the civil peace.