The National Foundation for Human Rights ... the Country’s Conscience
The Bahraini Government voluntarily established the National
Foundation for Human Rights (NFHR) last November and was fully aware
of the consequences of founding such an establishment. The establishment
of the foundation was not due to local or international pressure,
but was the result of a strong political will to develop the state’s
apparatus and improve human rights.
The existence of the NFHR means that the Government will monitor
all its apparatus in order to prevent the occurrence of any human
rights violations, and will deal with them effectively if and when
they take place. It also requires the Government to take important
steps to reform its legislations, adhere to international human
rights standards, become more transparent and reinforce human rights
culture in the mind of legislators as well as the Executive and
the Judicial Authorities.
Moreover, the existence of the NFHR will also mean that the Government
believes in the necessity of radically changing its relationship
with international human right organizations and local civil society
institutions. This relation should be based on coordination, openness,
communication, honesty and providing information. It also means
that the Government should work more towards promoting a human rights
culture through the official media and semi-official institutions.
The existence of the NFHR means that the Government is now more
confident with its performance and policies and has the ability
to withstand harsh criticism. Also, its officials have the capability
to deal with the changes that the NFHR is expected to make. The
establishment of a NFHR is an advanced step that requires officials
to withstand criticisms, questioning and accountability. This is
in order for the NFHR to be able to perform its functions without
any big obstacles. On the other hand, the Government - based on
the Royal Decree- should exert all efforts to make the NFHR successful
including protecting its independence and impartiality, providing
it with necessary information, cooperating with its investigations
and providing it with financial and human resources.
Because the Government voluntarily established the NFHR, it is
presumed that the Government and all its political and administrative
departments are ready to deal openly with it. The NFHR is not a
foreign body that can be accused of being biased towards one group
over another or of aiming to weaken the regime and spread lies.
It actually represents the conscious of the country that monitors
and documents violations, protects victims and communicates with
the world and local population. The NFHR represents the beating
heart of the Government and its main objective is to serve the public,
the Government and civil society, as well as improve their visions
and performance. The NFHR is part of the State and the social fabric
and will not be able to perform its role if it becomes biased or
mistreats any group or even uses its reports for propaganda purposes.
Finally, we hope that the NFHR will be dealt with openly and
transparently and that civil society institutions will support and
cooperate with it. We also wish that the NFHR proves its professionalism
and that it is a real defender of the public interest.