Bahrain is Committed to Human Rights
In his speech on 30 September 2013, before the UN General Assembly,
the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmad Al- Khalifa
stated that ‘Bahrain is keen on cooperation with national and international
civil society organizations, and in particular those operating in
the field of Human Rights, through continuous dialogue and a meaningful
exchange of experiences and expertise away from confrontation as
we are all parties to the same cause in which we all believe in
, namely, the promotion , respect and protection of human rights’.
The Minister said that his country works within three strategic
pillars, one of which is to realize the aspirations of all Bahrainis.
This includes raising the standards of living, achieving peace and
security, respecting human rights through the consolidation of the
principles of pluralism, democracy and political participation.
He added that ‘the Bahraini leadership is keen on interacting
and engaging with its people and on responding to their aspiration
with full commitment and transparency. The Minister went on to say
that ‘the Kingdom continues to pursue its firm policy of laying
down the foundations of the modern independent sovereign state that
are based on justice, constitutional and legislative reforms , human
rights and the enhancement of the role of women’.
The Minister continued by saying that his country ‘has achieved
tangible results in the field of enhancing human rights, notably
the establishment of the Commission of Prisoners and Detainees,
the establishment of the National Fund to compensate those affected
by events, the establishment of the Ombudsman within the Ministry
of Interior operating as an autonomous body within the laws of the
land, and the professional standards of police service as stipulated
in the police code of conduct’.
He also pointed to Bahrain’s proposal to create an Arab Human
Rights Court, a proposal that was endorsed by the Arab Summit Meeting
held in Qatar in March 2013 in response to the aspirations of the
Arab peoples. This constitutes a qualitative stride in the region
and comes as a consolidation of the principle of the rule of law
and in line with the procedures followed by similar courts in other
parts of the world. He also expressed hope that this court will
lay down the solid foundation for the protection of human rights
in the Arab world.
Sheikh Khalifa also stressed that the public awareness among
its citizens has shielded Bahrain from the sort of sectarian tensions
and conflicts witnessed in many other countries, without mentioning
Iraq and Syria. However, these two countries were mentioned later
on in his speech in response to a comment made by the American President
who linked Bahrain to Iraq and Syria in his address before the UN
General Assembly. The Minister highlighted that all through its
long history Bahrain has chosen the path of tolerance, moderation
and social coexistence among its various sects, ethnics and religious
groups, in a manner that has kept at bay any sectarian tensions
or conflicts such as those blighting Iraq and Syria today.
The Minister also met with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon
who called, in a statement issued by his office, on Bahrain to respect
human rights and to make good use of the assistance available at
the United Nations human rights bodies, in a reference perhaps to
the technical assistance that could be extended to Bahrain by the
Office of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, which has expressed
it’s readiness in that respect during a visit by its delegation
to Bahrain in December 2012. The Secretary-General also welcomed
the commitment of H.M. King Hamad to dialogue and reform and called
on the Government to engage in a meaningful and all-inclusive National
Dialogue that meets the legitimate aspirations for reform shared
by all sects of the Bahraini community. He also expressed hope that
Bahrain would continue to respond generously to the United Nations
humanitarian appeals launched to meet the needs of Syrian refugees.