The Shura Council’s Human Rights Committee, chaired by Ahmed Mahdi Al-Haddad, has welcomed the 2020 Human Rights and Democracy Report issued recently by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
The report praised Bahrain’s measures to investigate into allegations of human rights violations, and indicated the credibility, transparency and impartiality of the oversight bodies in charge of investigations into allegations of ill-treatment.
It also highlighted the progress made by the Government of Bahrain, represented by the Interior Ministry, to ensure care for detainees and convicts, as well as meet their needs and ensure their safety and rights within the reformation and rehabilitation institution.
The Shura committee asserted that the Report’s confirmation of the significant reduction in the size of the prison population, both by 169 royal pardons, and by increased use of alternative sentencing legislation, leading to the release of 4,200 convicts, is best response to attempts to undermine the kingdom’s human rights protection achievements.
The panel also hailed the Report’s highlighting of Bahrain’s initiative to draft an integrated National Human Rights Action Plan, which is the first of its kind at the level of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and is expected to be discussed at the UN Human Rights Council in the end of 2023, stressing the Shura Council’s unwavering interest in developing legislation related to human rights, and keenness to contribute to the National Human Rights Action Plan.
The Shura committee noted that the International Community appreciates Bahrain’s status, achievements and advanced efforts in the field of human rights, adding that the UK 2020 Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Report included the British Government’s support for Bahrain, as a friend, in its efforts in the field of combating trafficking in persons, which is supported by Bahrain’s success to maintain the Tier-1 status in the annual report of the US Department of State for combating people trafficking for the fourth straight year.
Regarding the Government of Bahrain’s efforts to combat the novel Coronavirus pandemic without affecting the rights of society, the Shura committee expressed satisfaction for the UK 2020 Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Report which highlighted the measures taken by Bahrain to protect the rights of vulnerable people and safeguard wider society during the pandemic.
In this regard, the committee praised the Report’s highlighting of the kingdom’s interest in the inmates of the reformation and rehabilitation institutions, in addition to its economic and health measures for the benefit of the citizens and residents alike, particularly with the Bahraini government’s introduction of a visa amnesty from March to December 2020, resulting in the “normalisation of the status” for over 30,000 workers who might otherwise have lost their jobs.