The Right Direction

In his speech on 23 November 2011, the King of Bahrain mapped out the country’s future plan of action after Bassiouni’s report; which includes moving beyond past violations, holding perpetrators accountable and compensating victims in order to achieve national reconciliation and permanent political stability. This attitude should be adopted by all social and political parties as it represents the best way out of the political and security crisis as well as the social division.

It is incorrect to hide behind sectional or party interests in order to run away from the responsibility of implementing the BICI recommendations; regardless of excuses and questions raised. We are aware that there are many challenges facing the implementation of the recommendations, however, the hopes of the Bahrainis rest on their speedy implementation. Foiling the persistent endeavours to reform the the political and Human Rights situation is unwise because it prolongs the crisis and is not beneficial to any group.

Bassiouni’s report is the first step to rebuild better relations between the Government and international human rights organizations and Office of the High Commissioner for human rights (OHCHR). It is unacceptable for Government bodies to constantly attack human rights organisations and deal with them with a lack of transparency. It is also unacceptable that the work of international human rights organisation is confined to condemning violations without exploring the genuine prospects of enhancing the Human Rights situation.

There is a clear indication that the lack of trust between the Government and human rights organisations during the past few months in particular has nearly ended. This is due to the Government’s reassessment of the nature of its relation with these organisations. We hope that this will improve Government official human rights discourse and the Government should respond to concerns of these organisations seriously and with good intention.

Recently, the Bahraini Government called for cooperation with international human rights organisation and setting up joint projects. We also hope that these organisations would take notice and seize upon the existing opportunities in Bahrain and the will to reform to broaden their way of thinking in order to establish a cooperative Human Rights effort that would benefit Bahrain strategically and prevent future social and political tension and violations. We now have Bassiouni’s report and an honest official intention to reform the situation; we should build on these two factors for a healthy relationship between the Government and international human rights organisations because Bahrain needs the expertise of these organisations. Co-operation should initially begin in the implementation of Bassiouni’s recommendations.