Meeting No (23), March 26th, 2012 – Second Convening Period – Third Legislative Term
In a statement issued at the beginning of its weekly session this day (Monday) which was presided over by His Excellency Ali bin Saleh Al-Saleh, the Chairman of the Council, the Shura Council applauded the address of His Majesty the King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain, on the occasion of receiving a report by the committee tasked with implementation of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Fact Finding Committee. The address contained meaningful words, purposeful messages and constructive trends which confirmed that the national responsibility is a duty on the shoulders of all, the government as well as political and popular societies in the participation in and promotion of the democratic practice in accordance with the law and public order. The Council highlighted the wisdom of His Majesty the King and real desire to serve justice and the preservation of the rights of the Bahraini citizen has been and still is the first motive for adoption of brave decisions to establish the fact finding missions and follow up on the implementation of their findings so that justice may prevail and holding the culprits accountable within legal and constitutional framework. The entire practice was intended to build a new phase where all will raise above their pains and hurt, for a fresh and bright page to be opened for the national reconciliation, burying the hatches and restoration of the national fabric to its former condition before the recent events which had a negative impact on all citizens on this beloved land.
The Shura Council also expressed appreciation and lauded the great efforts exerted by the National Committee concerned with implementation of the recommendations of the Fact Finding Committee and praised the level of professionalism and transparency which characterized the operations of the committee. The Council highly valued the role of and exemplary cooperation demonstrated by the government taskforce tasked with the follow up on and tracking implementation of the recommendation of the Independent Bahraini Fact Finding Commission. The Council reconfirmed its opinion that this report is tantamount to a causeway and path to the reforms which are continuing without fail and it invites all categories of the community to combine and pool their efforts for the success of the reforms, openness and reconciliation while fully exercising democracy tools in a way that would maintain the security and stability of the Kingdom as the key mainstay and cornerstone of growth, advancement and reforms.
The Council concluded its statement by confirming that it regards the new phase with hope and optimism for realization of the aspirations and hopes of the citizens in a better life and future loaded with achievements on all fronts and levels under the leadership of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and through the ongoing cooperation between the legislative authority and the wise government under the leadership of His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, the Prime Minister, and with the support and backing of His Royal Highness Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Supreme Commander. The Council looks forward to the participation and blessings by all of the anticipated reform steps which our beloved Kingdom will experience during the upcoming phase.
At the beginning of the 23rd session of the second cycle of the third legislative chapter, the members were informed of the message received from His Excellency Khalifa bin Ahmad Al-Dhahrani, Speaker of the Council of Representative, regarding the conclusion reached by the Council of Representatives relative the decision of the Shura Council on a draft law promulgating a Labor Law for the private sector, accompanying Royal Decree No. 45 for the year 2006.
This was followed by taking the final opinion on each draft law providing for ratification of an agreement between the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Government of Denmark y regarding exchange of information on taxation issues, accompanying Royal Decree No.2, for the year 2012, a draft law providing for ratification of an agreement between the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Government of Iceland regarding exchange of information on taxation issues, accompanying royal decree No.6, for the year 2012, a draft law providing for ratification of an agreement between the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Government of Norway regarding exchange of information on taxation issues, accompanying royal decree No.7, for the year 2012 and a draft law providing for ratification of an agreement between the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Government of Sweden, regarding exchange of information on taxation issues, accompanying Royal Decree No.8, for the year 2012, for referral to the Government in preparation for endorsement by His Majesty the King.
Then, Their Excellencies moved on to discuss the items listed in the agenda of the meeting and began with the report by the Services Committee on decree No.35, for the year 2011, providing for amendment of certain provisions of the Labor Syndicates promulgated by decree No.33, for the year 2002.
The Committee concluded in its report that the objectives of the decree involved commitment to international labor agreements, conventions and standards which allow for multiple syndicates and flexibility in naming the most appropriate agency to represent Bahrain labor in international circles and mass negotiations with the employers, and formulation of controls for re-nomination of those who are found accountable for violations which call for dissolution of the syndicate organization or board of directors or membership of any board of directors or labor syndicate.
After exhaustive discussion, the draft law was approved under the name of “DUAA” in preparation for referral to the Government.
The Council also approved the report by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and National Security Committee on a draft law approving ascription of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the International Convention on Trade in Fauna and Flora Threatened with Extinction, accompanying Royal Decree No.91, for the year 2011, pursuant to the recommendation reached by the Committee which confirmed the importance of this convention for protection of the fauna and flora species from an aesthetic, scientific, cultural, recreational viewpoints, subject to the condition that the final opinion on the draft law be taken in the upcoming session.
As regards discussion of the first supplementary report by the Legislative and Legal Committee on a draft law providing for amendment of certain provisions of the evidence law in civil and commercial articles issued by decree No.14 for the year 1996, prepared in response to a proposal filed by the Shura Council, the committee’s request for returning the draft law for further study was granted.
By the same token, the Members of the Council reviewed the report by the Legislative and Legal Committee on a draft law for amendment of certain provisions of decree No.14, for the year 1971, relative to authentication. The Committee reached a proposal to approve the draft law considering its importance in granting some authentication prerogatives to a certain category of lawyers for boosting the public interest and confidence.
The committee decided to return the first article of the draft law for further review while the other articles of the draft law were approved. The members agreed to reconsider the bill again as soon as the committee completes the review of the returned article.
Then, the Council moved on to discuss the report by the Public Utilities and the Environment Committee on a draft law providing for treatment of Fasht Al-Jarim and Fasht Al-Athm as natural sanctuaries (prepared in response to a proposal filed by the Council of Representatives). The issue was discussed in the presence of Dr. Juma bin Mohammad Al-Kabi, Minister of Municipalities and Urban Planning.
It is the committee’s opinion in its report is to hold on to the recommendation of the previous committee providing for rejection of the draft law in principle on the grounds that the existing legislations are adequate for serving the purpose, especially Decree No.2 for the year 1995 on protection of wildlife. Also, the strategic master plan of the Kingdom of Bahrain has identified the final dredging line for the Kingdom through the year 2030 and has underscored the importance of conservation of the marine environment, especially of Fasht Al-Jarim and Fasht Al-Athm. The committee referred in its report to the fact that the Kingdom of Bahrain has signed four agreements for exploration in the marine blocks located between and within the two mentioned area. Approval of this draft law would mean violation by the Kingdom of Bahrain with the obligations set forth in those agreements. Furthermore, approval of the draft law will have major economic and developmental ramifications on the Kingdom as its approval will i
mpact the important strategic activities which will serve the future generations, including the exploration for oil and gas in the two areas. It is also the committee’s opinion that issuance of a law providing for protection of the twin areas will require issuance of other laws providing for protection of each sanctuary separately, which is not acceptable since all sanctuaries are regulated and protected under the umbrella of a single legislation.
Consequently, the council decided to approve the committee’s recommendation providing for rejection of the draft law in principle and on the condition that the final opinion thereon be taken in the upcoming session.