New task force on human rights in Bahrain


This was revealed in the draft action plan, launched yesterday at the Diplomat Hotel, with pledges and commitments Bahrain has to implement.


“This draft action plan is a step ahead to show how serious we are with the process of Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The action plan will help us receive feedback which is important,” said Dr Nizar bin Sadiq Al Baharna, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.


He was speaking during the launch of the draft action plan which was attended by diplomats and top government officials.


Dr Al Baharna will head the Bahrain delegation to the UN council where the Kingdom’s human rights record will be reviewed on April 7.


The UN council will review 48 countries in three batches of 16 each this year. Bahrain is among the first group of 16 countries for UPR.


The draft action plan states that the task force formed by the ministry will train police and law enforcers on human rights and work on campaigns against human trafficking. Special attention will also be paid in reaching youth, women and vulnerable groups.


Furthermore, as part of Bahrain’s commitments, there will be intensified inspection of housing of workers and protection of the rights of domestic workers.


Local activist, Abdullah Al Derazi from the Bahrain Human Rights Society welcomed the draft action plan but said some key issues were not included.


“The action plan does not mention about amendments of laws which contradict with human rights principles such as the Penal Code, the Society’s law and the Freedom of Assembly,” he said.
Al Derazi also questioned Al Baharna about the exclusion of the formation of a truth and reconciliation committee for victims of torture and amendment of Law Number 56 of 2002, which gives immunity to those officials who have tortured victims.


United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) representative, Sayed Aqa stressed in his speech that Human rights should not be mixed with Politics.


“This is a historical process for the Kingdom and every Bahraini should be part of it. Politics should be away from human rights during the UPR process.” he said.

The three hour interactive dialogue at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva will be broadcasted live on April 7, when Bahrain National Report on Human Rights will be reviewed.
“The session will be shown by weblinks on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. We have sent a team from Bahrain to study on the logistics of showing here the session on electronic screens positioned in key areas,” said Dr Al Baharna.


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