From the Spirit of Bahraini Youth: A message of thanks to HM King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa
24-Oct-2016


His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa issued Decree 20/2016 amending some of the provisions of the Law 26/2014 regarding the establishment of the National Institution of Human Rights, which broadens institutional power to proactively encourage human rights development. This decree won support from the Bahraini community. This article reflects this support from the Bahraini youth perspective and analyses how it is a guarantor of their rights, especially women and minorities. 

Article (3) item (A) provides information on the establishment of 10 human rights Commissioners, while item (B) specifies that “members shall be selected from consulting, academic, civil society organizations, trade unions, social, economic and professional bodies, and the human rights defenders, taking into consideration the appropriate representation of women and the minorities”. This article incorporates a wide range of community components that can serve in the human rights field, particularly noting the importance of “women” and “minorities”. As a jurisprudence and human rights specialist, and as a young Bahraini women, I am proud and trust in my rights to share equal opportunities in the community of the Kingdom of Bahrain as maintained by many programs and laws, however this article will ensure practical achievement of the national vision, particularly by ensuring the representation of women.  Another point of view that makes me proud is that we now surpass some developed communities in women’s participation, and minorities as well supported in the article, which prevents any exclusion of their views and rights from national life, which is a main duty of human rights defenders. D. Al Farhan pointed out that this decree will maintain the rights of citizens and residents of the Kingdom. It is  important step to adopt this advanced concept of citizenship, exceeding traditional expectations that mean defending and protect the national “citizens” to include residents who share the responsibilities, rights and belonging to the Kingdom. Bahraini and foreign youths resident in Bahrain have the duty to adopt universal human rights, including to maintain migrants’ rights. 

Article (12) item (g) mentions that the Commissioners’ duties include: “Conducting announced and unannounced visits, to monitor the human rights situation in the correctional institutions, detention places, labor groupings, health and educational institutions, or any other public places that are suspected to be a site for the violation of human rights”. Article 14, item (a) gives institutional rights to “request any information, or data, or documents it deems necessary from the concerned ministries and agencies in the Kingdom”, and specifies the responsibility of those ministries provide all needed data or documentation. This article fills a crucial gap pertaining to enforcement of existing rules that protect human rights in Bahraini law. In tandem with education for the younger generation concerning human rights and citizenship to give them the tools and competences to practice their rights, and the media who foster the human rights values, this decree confirms the legal impetus to prepare future generations and the entire community to flourish with human in action. 

Theories and laws alone are not enough, and there is always a need of a body to ensure that the national vision and law are cemented in daily life, which is particularly important when it comes to universal human rights. If we encounter a human rights violation it is our duty as active citizens to use our national laws and power to share responsibilities, to make the Kingdom of Bahrain a leader in the field of human rights, to achieve the vision of our leader and our rights defender H.M. KING HAMAD BIN ISA AL KHALIFA.


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