Truth, reconciliation panel for Bahrain mooted
Manama, July 22, 2011
Bahrain could set up a human rights commission to look into violations and make compensation payouts, it emerged last night.
National Dialogue participants in the Human Rights session reached full consensus on the establishment of a Commission for Truth, Equity and Reconciliation.
Bahrain Human Rights Society former secretary-general Dr Abdulla Al Deerazi said participants had agreed it would be set up by a Royal Decree.
He said the commission would look into human rights violations and compensation for torture victims and others.
Dr Al Deerazi said the new commission would be different to the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) ordered by His Majesty King Hamad.
He said the BICI's mandate was to only investigate violations during the unrest and to submit a report at the end of October, whereas the new commission would look into violations covering a longer period.
"The commission will be appointed by His Majesty and have Bahrainis belonging to non-governmental organisations and government agencies to look into the longer period of violations in Bahrain before the reforms, so it could be from 1970s to 2000," Dr Al Deerazi told the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper.
"The commission will identify the violations and suggest compensation for the victim. It will cover all aspects of society and be for both Bahrainis and expats."
Issues on the agenda of last night's human rights session included harmonising national laws with international conventions, issues related to local and international organisations and advocates and the implementation of various principles.
Dr Al Deerazi said 33 topics were discussed in last night's session and the majority were approved.
"I am happy with the outcome and look forward to the implementation and I'm sure His Majesty is serious about this," he added.
Dr Al Deerazi said participants reached consensus on reinforcing the freedom of association for human rights committees in Bahrain and to give them support.
He said they agreed on urging Bahrain to join human rights conventions that have not been ratified and to amend the national legislation on human rights conventions.
Consensus was reached on training law enforcers, such as judges, Public Prosecution officials and police. They also agreed on continuous communication with human rights agencies and strengthening relations with them.
"We reached consensus on reinforcing the role of the National Institution for Human Rights and to review the laws and mechanisms to protect the rights of children," said Dr Al Deerazi.
"We reached consensus on having co-ordination with non-governmental organisations and agencies for the disabled and agreed on including human rights principles in the curriculum.
"We put forward also the importance of having a national human rights plan according to the Vienna conference of 1993 that urged countries to form human rights strategies in co-ordination with government agencies and non-governmental organisations." - TradeArabia News Service