Dialogue and Implementing the Recommendations
are the Solutions to the Crisis

The President of the BHRM Hasan Moosa Shafaei called upon the authorities in Bahrain to facilitate the mission of the UN Special Rapportoire on Torture, who has been invited by the Bahraini Government to visit Bahrain. Shafaei believes that Bahrain needs international expertise to help it implement Bassiouni’s recommendations, improve the performance of its human rights institutions and its human rights record generally. The situation in Bahrain is being closely monitored by leading human rights organizations, especially that some areas still witnessing demonstrations, riots and human rights breaches.

Shafaei commented on the speech of the Minister of Human Rights and Social Development Fatima Al Balooshi before the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 28 February 2012, by saying that it was a relatively balanced speech. In her speech the Minister said that the Bahraini Government is serious and keen to implementation Bassiouni’s recommendations and to push forward the political dialogue. Shafaei stressed the importance of these two principles in promoting trust between various political parties, and in conveying clear messages regarding the State’s commitment to reform, transparency and adherence to internationally accepted human rights principles.

The Minister had also stated that mistakes were made, including the use of excessive force, illegal detention and unlawful killings, adding that the Government is trying to remedy these mistakes through the compensation fund, the release of detainees and the reinstatement of workers. Shafaei commented that these are precisely the issues that local and international human rights organizations are urging Bahrain to address. This includes implementing the BICI recommendation which is related to accountability as a basis for reform and an indicator for the next phase.

Shafaei commended the Government’s cooperation with international human rights organizations, and the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the International Committee of the Red Cross, which allows visits to detention centres. He also praised the signing of memorandum of understanding with the UNESCO to promote tolerance , diversity and human rights, and the Ministry of Human Rights’ efforts to sign a memorandum of understanding with the OHCHR. Shafaei suggested that the OHCHR memorandum should reflect the fullest extent of cooperation and scope of authority, and include the basis of OHCHR work in Bahrain, including monitoring, evaluation and protection. Such cooperation will have strategic effects on the human rights situation in the country, and will lay the foundation for qualitative development in official human rights practices.

Shafaei concluded his statements by stating that the challenges facing Bahrain are considerable. He hoped that Bassiouni’s recommendations will be implemented as soon as possible, and that a serious political dialogue will be initiated in order to continue with structural and constitutional reforms. He also called for another dialogue to take place on a social level, paralleling Bahrain’s political dialogue, to tackle sectarianism and reunite the country’s social fabric. Moreover, he hoped that all political bodies will work together to ease tensions on the street, stop breaches completely, and avoid human casualties, so that Bahrain can recover from this crisis as soon as possible.