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.