Bahrain Leads Gulf in Human Rights
The decision to set up a GCC Office for Human Rights is regarded
as one of the major achievements of the 31st Summit of the Gulf
Council Cooperation (GCC) held in Abu Dhabi in December 2010.
This decision bears two significant indications: the first relates
to the reasons and rationales behind setting up such an office,
and the second is that the Office represents a new horizon to develop
human rights in the region. However, in order for the newly established
Office to fulfil its objectives, it needs to be well resourced and
invested in given the fact that we live in an open and transparent
world and that human rights are well scrutinized and protected and
any violation thereto cannot be ignor?d.
In the closing statement of the GCC Summit, the Supreme Council
endorsed the establishment of the GCC Office for Human Rights, as
part of the General Secretariat. The setting up of the Office came
as a result of the implementation of Bahrain’s Vision for the Development
of the GCC in the field of human rights. It is obvious that Bahrain
is trying to bring the GCC countries closer to human rights, despite
some concern and reservations. Bahrain believes that it is difficult
for any GCC country to remain una?fected by changes taken place
in the other Gulf countries, if they decide to pursue political
and human rights changes.
Bahrain’s proposals regarding human rights were no coincidences,
but part of a general vision regarding the future of the GCC. Even
if the beginnings are modest, it is important to break the ice between
the Gulf countries and international human rights organizations.
The pioneering position of Bahrain means that it bears a greater
responsibility towards caring for the newly formed GCC Human Rights
Office. In order for the Office to develop, officials in the GCC
countries need to pay more attention to the importance of human
rights. Setting up the GCC Human Rights Office was just the first
step, and more ser?ous work is needed. This includes the creation
of a suitable atmosphere for the development of human rights, passing
laws and appropriate regulations, exchanging expertise between the
GCC countries, and allowing civil society organizations the opportunity
and freedom to play their indispensible role.