Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bahrain: Statement by the Human Rights Office, Ministry of Social Development of Bahrain

SOURCE Kingdom of Bahrain

The Human Rights Office in the Ministry of Social Development expressed its disappointment at the recent statement in Geneva by the United States Ambassador, which includes Bahrain in a list of nations alleged to have violated fundamental freedoms.

"As President Obama has noted, the U.S. and Bahrain are friends. As such it is important that friends speak openly and honestly with each other," said a statement by the Office of Human Rights. "We regret the U.S. Administration's rush to judgment on allegations that have yet to be proven in courts of law. The cornerstone of advanced societies - the rule of law - provides guarantees not only of freedom of expression but also of people's security. Bahrain's judicial system is highly competent and its processes should be respected as it weighs this balance."

"The Office is surprised that this statement should have been issued so shortly after a fruitful visit to the United States by senior Bahraini officials, during which they underlined to the U.S. Administration the Kingdom of Bahrain's determination to maintain and protect human rights, and outlined the moves currently underway to investigate and remedy any shortcomings or lapses in this regard. Moreover, the statement coincided with a visit to Bahrain by Mr. Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, during which these productive discussions were continued. The statement also failed to recognize Bahrain's ongoing cooperative stance on human rights, as demonstrated by its invitation to the OHCHR to send a team to the Kingdom. The Office therefore regrets that, in both its timing and content, Ambassador Donahoe's statement did not properly account for or reflect these issues."

The Human Rights Office's statement went on: "Bahrain experienced regrettable events necessitating the declaration of the State of National Safety, which ended on 1 June and of which the Kingdom of Bahrain duly informed the United Nations. Regrettably, the protests in Bahrain turned violent, threatening the safety, lives, property and livelihoods of citizens and residents from all parts of society, and seeking to undermine the rule of law. In such circumstances, all Bahrainis are entitled to look to their government for lawful protection from such serious and immediate threats to their most fundamental rights. The Kingdom of Bahrain has a strong commitment to maintaining the rights of all our people, and we take allegations of violations extremely seriously. Our sincere hope is that all grievances will be fully addressed in the upcoming National Dialogue."

Finally, the Office underlined the Kingdom of Bahrain's unwavering commitment to working with all parties both domestically and internationally, including the United Nations and the United States, to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, expressing the government's desire to continue and expand such cooperation in the years ahead.