The Upcoming Elections and Human Rights Future

Bahrain is preparing itself for the new parliamentary elections during which it is expected that political and civil societies, as well as defenders of women’s rights, will engage and fiercely compete more than the previous experience of 2006. It is hard to anticipate the turnout of this election considering the pessimistic stance of some Bahrainis about the extent of the public participation. Contrary to this, BHRM believes that this is not going to be the case as there are many new players looking for political positions in Parliament.

It is essential that the political process and election continue in order to help the democratic experience mature and maintain a reasonable amount of respect for human rights.

If the political process loses its credibility in the eyes of the public, or if it is derailed, it will not then be possible to guarantee the protection of human rights and prevent violations. On the other hand, a political process cannot continue or gain respect in an oppressive environment or where human rights are violated.

The political process in Bahrain, which includes elections as one of its main elements, is an umbrella for human rights reforms. It is widely believed that human rights approach represents a real solution for violence, discrimination, assaults and suppression.

The political process manages the interests of individuals and communities, as well as political conflicts and competitions. It also produces legislations that protect citizens’ rights and establishes accountability, transparency and freedom of expression. Moreover, it pushes towards developing an independent judicial system. In summary, any state which decides to reform and democratise its political system would gradually develop its human rights.

Conversely, human rights violations take place extensively in totalitarian regimes as it cannot flourish in deteriorated political situations. Therefore, political, social and civil rights can only be protected in a just system. This system must be approved by the public who elect its figures and ultimately decide the fate of the elections.

The political transition and the elections in Bahrain have resulted in a better human rights situation. Despite isolated incidents of violence and riots and human rights violations, the development of the political process in recent years reflects public and official support to the choice of respecting human rights.

Public satisfaction with the political process can be measured in many ways: the extent of public participation in elections such as the number of voters and the diversity of candidates and their genders. It also can be measured through the political process’s ability to attract new political players who previously boycotted it. This is in addition to its ability to answer public demands through Parliament legislations and improving the Government’s performance.

We hope to see a new Parliament that learns past experiences and succeeds in achieving the ambitions of the voters and all their fundamental rights.