Bahrain’s laws under UN scanner





“Bahrain laws including those related to political societies, the Press and Law No. 56 issued in the aftermath of the disturbances during the nineties, will be under the scanner,” Abdulnabi Al Ekry from the Bahrain Human Rights Society told the Tribune yesterday.


The activists will also look into into the Kingdom’s judicial system. “We will evaluate the performance of government agencies tasked with implementing the laws which contradict human rights principles,” Al Ekry said.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is preparing the first National Report on Human Rights for review by the United Nations Human Right Council. Fortyeight countries in three batches of 16 each will be reviewed this year.
Bahrain is among the first group of 16 states to submit its report on February 25.


The defunct Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and the Haqq Movement submitted ‘shadow’ reports to the UN Council in November. The society has also submitted a report the Council will take up in April.


“All rights violations in the Kingdom till November have been cited in our report,”Al Ekry said. He said Bahrain activists would also highlight the recent disturbances following Ali Jassim’s death. The Bahrain delegation would submit an explanation in a bid to reach a strong stance on the issues.
Rights records of all 192 UN members will be under scrutiny.


Manama has to deliver a self-assessment of the rights situation and take into account views of non-governmental and human rights groups.


Al Ekry alleged that the authorities had not sought their views before drafting the report. “Our society has not been asked to give opinion. They are not consulting rights group though there is a month or so left to submit the report,” he said.


The activist said the authorities could neglect them but they would be facing each other during discussion in UN experts’ presence in Bahrain in April.


The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Nezar bin Sadeq Al Baharna, however, told the Press earlier that they had consulted civil society and rights organisations as well as key public figures.


Al Ekry said there would be a conclusive review of all the recommendations of the state on human rights conventions and record.


According to him, the UN delegation might arrive next month. “The meeting with the Bahraini authorities and NGOs is slated for April. But the UN High Commission can draft a team next month,” he said.


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