Bahrain approves child rights bill revision
Manama, January 17, 2012
Children in Bahrain will soon be banned from taking part in political gatherings, rallies and demonstrations after the Shura Council approved amendments to child rights law.
People found guilty of using youngsters aged below 18 as pawns in such events will face up to a year in jail, a BD1,000 ($2,652) fine or both.
Human Rights and Social Development Minister Dr Fatima Al Balooshi criticised the delay in getting the bill through the National Assembly, which has already taken more than two years.
"Bahrain's children are the ones affected considering that there is no law to protect their rights and the National Assembly should pass the current bill and then carry out whatever amendments it wants," she said.
"The International Report on Human Rights will be out in May and legislators should expect huge criticism on this issue in the child rights section because of the unnecessary delay."
Shura Council members also yesterday approved parliament amendments calling for a National Child Commission to be formed under the chairmanship of Dr Al Balooshi.
It will be made up of officials from the ministry, Information Affairs Authority, Interior Ministry, Supreme Council for Women, Education Ministry, Public Prosecution and the Labour, Health, Foreign, Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments ministries.
Representatives from Bahrain University, the General Organisation for Youth and Sport and two representatives from community societies involving children will also be included.
The council has agreed to drop the chapter on criminal prosecution of children saying that it contradicts international obligations. The bill will now be referred to parliament to have newly-amended articles approved before it is submitted to His Majesty King Hamad for ratification. – TradeArabia News Service