Political Reform and Human Rights during the Crown Prince’s Visit to Washington

Despite the political crisis which badly affected all parties involved in the political process, everyone in Bahrain and outside agree that the Crown Prince is the most reliable figure who is able to tackle the current social and political crisis. The Crown Prince represents moderation and the determination to implement the state’s principles and respect for social diversity.

He is always stressing that Bahrain will be able to overcome its current crisis and return to being an oasis of freedom, democracy and human rights. The Crown Prince also highlights the importance of dialogue between various social and political segments in order to overcome social and political crisis. In addition to this, he stresses that Government’s apparatus and institutions should not be confined to one group and should equally serve every one and develop all areas. Moreover, he always affirms that the political crisis should not affect social relations or the relationship between citizens and their leadership.

During his recent visit to Washington in June 2013, the Prince was cordially received by President Obama and by both the State and Defence Secretaries. All parties stressed on the same principles that Bahrain endorses as the foundation of its future stability and prosperity, namely the National dialogue, political reforms and the respect for human rights.

President Obama Joined Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken’s meeting with the Crown Prince and commended the latter’s commitment to advancing reform in Bahrain, and underscored that the US will continue to support these efforts. He also stressed that meaningful reform, dialogue, and respect for universal human rights are the best path to achieving peace and security that all Bahraini citizens deserve. The US President also conveyed the US’s firm support for Bahrain’s national dialogue launched by King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khlifa, and noted that the United States continues to encourage all sides to engage constructively to achieve progress.

During this meeting, the Crown Prince stressed that Bahrain is in the process of adopting policies and programmes based on the principles of the National Action Charter such as accountability, human rights and the rule of law. In addition to striving to promote the role of national institutions which were given more authority lately through a number of appropriate constitutional amendments and legislations. He also added that the continuation of the National dialogue in the political sphere is a reflection of the positive attitude and desire towards reaching fruitful conclusion on the national consensus front. However, he cautioned that rejection of dialogue and continued active or tacit support to acts of violence will not hasten change, but will only undermine reform and thwart progress. He restated his call for all concerned parties to unequivocally condemn violence.

During another meeting with the Vice President Biden, the latter emphasized the importance of continuing the path of reform in Bahrain and the need for more achievements in this field. Secretary Kerry and the Crown Prince both agreed that all sides should contribute constructively to reconciliation, meaningful dialogue, and reform that meets the aspirations of all Bahrainis. Secretary Kerry reiterated America’s belief that all sides must reject violence and pursue actions that will contribute to Bahrain’s future growth and prosperity.

The Crown Prince also met the Defence Secretary Hagel who reaffirmed U.S. support for Bahrain’s security and stability and noted that meaningful and sustainable political reform and respect for all citizens’ rights is the only way to achieve a durable stability in Bahrain.

The secretary commended King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa’s call for national dialogue and urged all sides to continue constructive dialogue to realize a political solution. Hagel concluded the meeting, by affirming support for the crown prince and his work in advancing reform and dialogue in Bahrain.