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Bahrain creates $26.5m fund for unrest victims

Manama, March 15, 2012

Bahrain has created a BD10 million ($26.5 million) fund to compensate families of Bahrainis and expatriates killed or injured during the unrest, said a top official.

The Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry will start accepting claims at its headquarters in the Diplomatic Area on Sunday.

The fund is part of the Civil Settlement Initiative (CSI), which was earlier proposed by the National Commission tasked with implementing the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI).

'The government has allocated a budget of about BD10m that will be used for this scheme and will include every individual affected because of the unrest last year,' said commission member Dr Abdulla Al Deerazi.

The beneficiaries will include relatives of people who died during the unrest, expatriate workers and policemen attacked, and anyone who suffered property damage.

Motorists whose vehicles were damaged or disappeared from the former GCC (Pearl) roundabout during the height of last year's unrest are also expected to be included.

'The ministry will have its own team of investigators who will evaluate each case and will then come out with a compensation figure, which is up to the applicant to accept or not,' said Dr Al Deerazi, former secretary-general of the Bahrain Human Rights Society.

'It will cover expatriate workers who were attacked and the families of policemen, who died last year. Even individuals whose property were damaged as a result of unrest are also eligible for compensation.'

Anyone subjected to physical harm by the security forces will also be covered as part of the scheme.

'This direct payout scheme aims to reach out to the victims, who have to submit required compensation documents at the ministry to register their case of death, injuries or other purposes,' said Dr Al Deerazi.

If the applicant agrees to the compensation amount proposed by officials, he or she will have to sign a document agreeing to drop any court case.

Dr Al Deerazi said the CSI initiative was different from the National Victims Compensation Fund, set up by His Majesty King Hamad last September.

It will be overseen by the Human Rights and Social Development Ministry and will follow United Nations guidelines.

'There are two judges and two representatives from non-government organisations onboard the National Victims Compensation Fund,' he said. 'They investigate the case and have to issue a verdict.'

Meanwhile, the National Commission, which proposed the CSI, is scheduled to submit its final report to His Majesty next Tuesday.

It documents all actions implemented by the commission over the past three months in relation to the BICI recommendations.

'We have all worked hard as members of the commission, conducted more than 23 meetings and extensively discussed BICI implementations and steps to be taken in the process,' said Dr Al Deerazi.

He hinted there could be a separate follow-up body formed after the submission of its draft report to monitor the progress of its final report. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Manama | Human rights | Justice | Unrest victims | Compensation fund |

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