Significant progress made on reforms says Bahrain
Manama, March 20, 2012
Bahrain's His Majesty King Hamad on Tuesday said the kingdom had rolled out a raft of reforms following last year's unrest, but now needed to prove it could put them into practice.
His Majesty said the country had made significant progress in reforming its security sector, judiciary, social policy and media since the unrest in February-March 2011.
'The doors of dialogue have and continue to be open,' he said in a speech. 'We want our people to feel and see the differences these changes have on their lives. The challenge of the coming months will be to translate these into tangible, cultural changes.'
His Majesty today received the final report of the National Commission in charge of following up the implementation of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) recommendations.
The BICI, which investigated the unrest, was led by Egyptian-American jurist Cherif Bassiouni.
The progress report said the kingdom had agreed to a new police code of conduct, had allowed the Red Cross to inspect detention centres and set up a body to investigate accusations that government employees killed or mistreated citizens.
His Majest said: "Upon receiving the BICI Report in November, we pledged to ensure that the painful events our beloved nation has just experienced are not repeated, but that we learn from them, and use our new insights as a catalyst for positive change."
The report demonstrates the impressive beginning of that positive change "we had hoped to see, and are proud of", he said.
"Your report concludes that our government has made important strides on the road towards a transparent system based on democratic values. Necessary administrative and legal mechanisms have been put in place to implement the required plans in the medium and long term.
"This has included security and judicial reform, enhancing educational curricula, establishing a detailed plan to reform the media, working tirelessly to ensure that employees are reinstated, establishing compensation schemes to provide redress to the victims as soon as possible, commencing programmes for national social and economic reconciliation, establishing an independent ombudsman office at the Ministry of Interior and the office of an independent inspector general at the National Security Agency and, most importantly, establishing a Special Investigation Unit to hold accountable those that have erred during the events of last year," he said.
Today, after delivery of the report of the National Commission, the government must incorporate the steps taken in its programme of work to ensure optimal follow-up of the recommendations and ensure their implementation at all stages. We want our people to feel and see the differences these changes have on their lives. The challenge of the coming months will be to translate these into tangible, cultural changes," he said.
This national responsibility falls on all parties, not just the executive authority alone. It is the duty of the legislative authority to fulfil its inherent mandate in legislation and monitoring the Government’s ongoing implementation plan, His Majesty said. - Reuters and TradeArabia News Service