Pillars of Stability

Security situation in Bahrain is calm following the disappearance of street violence. Council and Parliamentary elections also took place on time in accordance with legal procedures and international standards. Clearly, security has been reinforced, but as in other countries Bahrain must now exert long term efforts to strengthen the foundations of stability. These can be summarised as follows:

Firstly: Expansion of democracy and public participation in decision-making. The mere election of representatives in Parliament does not constitute real or equal participation in decision-making. In order to achieve real participation, people should enjoy other rights such as freedom of expression and assembly and the freedom to establish societies, in addition to having fundamental economic and social rights. This is because a citizen who is unable to provide food for his/her family cannot become a real or free participant in decisions which determine their fate and future. What is required after the elections is the expansion of channels through which decisions, laws and legislations pass, as well as improving services and living standards. If Parliament fails to achieve this, then the democratic process itself will be useless, something that decision makers and MPs should note.

Secondly: Maximize the margin of freedom to establish civil society organizations, and encouraging the youth to become involved in volunteer and institutional work. This will aid the spread of vitality and awareness in society, and achieve great strides in public culture and social and cultural services for the public.

Establishing civil societies and allowing them to carry out unrestricted activities, proves that the freedom of association exists, without which freedom becomes meaningless. In fact, the difference between dictatorships and democratic regimes can be found in legislations that govern the right to establish civil society organizations. The fewer the restrictions, the closer these regimes are to democracy.

We call for a tolerant attitude towards Bahraini civil society organizations and for the passing of a modern law that governs the establishment of NGOs and promotes freedoms. This law should also avoid the dominant and oppressive policies of the Executive Authority, encourage the increase in the number of these societies, and provide all the necessary means for them to achieve their goals.

Thirdly: Adopting educational curriculums that contribute in building a skilful and qualified generation, able to plan its future and live a dignified and prosperous life (in accordance with the 2030 National Plan). Also, there is need to educate the new generation to respect diversity, and, furthermore, helping them to develop a unifying national identity. Also, there is need to raise awareness among citizens about their rights and obligations, hence creating a harmonious society far from stereotyping and extremism towards the ‘Other’.