Protection of Human Rights in Emerging Democracies

There is a correlation between respect for human rights and the development of democracy in democratically emerging countries, and even in countries with long-established democracies.

The existence of respected human rights is inconceivable under authoritarian regimes. Dictatorships do not constitute natural environments for the protection of human rights. Similarly, no true or evolving democracy can possibly exist if its growth is not associated with a parallel development in human rights protection.

Thus, democracy and human rights protection are two interrelated themes. This correlation is clearly found in Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Human rights can be used as an indicator of a state’s political orientation and as a measure of the progress of an emerging democracy. Wherever violations escalate one can easily tell that the nascent democracy is stumbling.

There are many challenges facing emerging democracies, which include:

Attempts by the old guard to regain power and bring the country back to the status quo ante. At the same time, and because of the disorder during the transition phase towards democracy, many segments in the community may develop a yearning to revert to the era of dictatorship.

Failure in political inclusion of all segments of society.

The fear that weakness or weakening of new institutions (e.g. the parliament and human rights institutions) may prevent them from undertaking their roles.

Imposition of legal restrictions on freedom of expression, political participation and lack of public debating on issues of interest to the community, whether political, social or otherwise.

The spread of nepotism, the gradual weakening of the rule of law, impunity, erosion of confidence in the judicial system and the encroachment of corruption.

Emerging democracies may also face waves of violence, sectarianism, extremism and terrorism.

All these key issues are linked to human rights, and each one of them carries some indicators which show whether or not the emerging democracy is actually moving on the right track.

Thus, in order to maintain an upward trend for Bahrain ‘s political path, in terms of reform, development and protection of the emerging democracy, it is necessary: to protect human rights; to activate the new regulatory institutions; to strengthen the parliament; to work towards accommodating the society’s political and economic aspirations and to curb violence, sectarianism and extremism. All this does not only revive hopes for reform and the dream of democracy, but it also protects the structure of the state itself.