The National Human Rights Committee in Bahrain between the conditions for success and the propaganda goal
Human rights circles welcome the decision of the ruling Al-Khalifi regime in Bahrain to announce the formation of the National Human Rights Committee in the country, but they demand a series of conditions for success and to avoid the intended propaganda goal of the step.
The formation of the National Human Rights Committee is necessary within the framework of Bahrain’s implementation of its international human rights obligations, but this should not be a substitute for the role of the National Institution for Human Rights, according to human rights circles.
It is assumed that the institution works independently to promote and protect human rights and to ensure that the authorities apply human rights standards in various internal and external affairs, issues, and policies.
The Crown Prince of Bahrain recently decided to establish and form the National Human Rights Committee. He assigned several tasks to it, most of which focused on following up on implementing Bahrain’s human rights obligations, coordinating and cooperating with human rights organizations inside and outside Bahrain and responding to their inquiries regarding human rights issues.
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor affirmed that the committee’s work in a serious and professional manner is essential to achieve the goals for which it was established, as it is expected to work effectively to raise the efficiency of officials dealing with human rights issues as well as taking all possible measures to end the various violations of the rights of individuals and entities in the Kingdom, especially practices and policies related to civil, political and religious freedoms.
Euro-Med Monitor warned that the committee should not endorse government practices that violate human rights principles, as it should not play any role in covering up human rights violations or justifying policies and procedures that undermine the exercise of their legitimate rights by individuals and entities.
It stressed that the decision to establish the National Human Rights Commission in Bahrain would be a positive step if it was accompanied by a practical application to improve the situation of human rights in the Kingdom and to end all violations and illegal abuses against opponents and opinion-holders.
It added that prisoners of conscience in Bahrain and those who were stripped of their nationality as a punishment for their political activities should be the first to see the actual repercussions of the work of the National Human Rights Committee as the committee’s follow-up to the implementation of the national human rights plan necessitates that it submit specific recommendations on the need to end all forms of persecution against human rights defenders.
The Euro-Mediterranean Monitor stressed the importance of the committee dealing objectively with the requests of human rights organizations to carry out field visits to Bahrain and to enable it to reach all places that aim to see its legal and human rights conditions, especially prisons and detention centres, and to allow it to carry out fieldwork, including Meeting victims of violations directly.
It stressed the need for the committee to work to ensure that Bahrain’s domestic laws, policies and practices align with its international obligations in the field of human rights, especially the conventions it has ratified.
This includes the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Convention against All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
The Euro-Mediterranean Monitor urged the Bahraini authorities to provide all possible reasons for the success of the work of the National Human Rights Committee and to strive to ensure the achievement of the goals for which it was formed, leading to an end to all forms and manifestations of human rights violations in the Kingdom.
The Euro-Med Monitor called on the Bahraini authorities to translate their positive intentions regarding improving the human rights situation in the country into tangible actions, to take immediate measures to release prisoners of conscience, to end the policy of stripping political opponents of their nationalities, and to reverse all restrictions imposed on individuals’ enjoyment of all their rights.