UK confirms Bahrain’s progress in reforms
Manama, May 2, 2012
Bahrain's human rights performance has shown improvements since the first half of the year, and steps have been taken to implement reforms based on the commission's (Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry) recommendations, a report said.
The British government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) 2011 Human Rights and Democracy report documenting unrest of the past 14 months was released by Foreign Secretary William Hague.
The report describes elements of the Bahrain opposition as 'militant and sectarian'.
'The movement quickly spread following the deaths of protesters, and then grew more militant and sectarian as the Bahraini security forces and some protesters responded violently,” the report said.
The report also praises steps taken by Bahrain to form the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) to investigate allegations of human rights abuses during the height of last year's unrest, amendments made to criminal laws and the setting up of the National Victims Compensation Fund to compensate victims and families of the deceased.
It lists a total of 28 countries in the 'countries of concern' category, the highest ever with the inclusion of Fiji and South Sudan, and was compiled by British diplomats around the world.
The 388-page report speaks of Bahraini protesters taking to the streets last year calling for political and economic reforms, but stresses the movement turned sectarian and violent.
'Violent clashes continue (in Bahrain), as do some reports of beatings and deaths in disputed circumstances,' adds the report. It goes on to call for restraint on all sides.
'We continue to press all parties to exercise restraint during demonstrations and to show real leadership in order to prevent further violence,' it says.
Hague said in his speech during the launch ceremony that the FCO decided at the beginning of each year to list the countries of concern, adding it will make quarterly decisions on whether systematic reporting on human rights development in other countries is required.
'We are applying this immediately in the case of Ethiopia and Bahrain, which are covered in this report as case studies, and we will review Rwanda and Egypt for inclusion at the mid-year point,' he said.
He also revealed that the funding to support human rights work has been increased to 30 per cent.
The report has a separate section on the Arab Spring, where case studies were conducted on Bahrain and Egypt.
It also explains UK policy on the Arab Spring and lists countries of concern in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region that includes Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
'In my view 2011 will stand out as a positive year for human rights and democracy because of the remarkable power of the courage of the people of Syria and of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, whose actions have shone an intense spotlight on the need for greater political and economic freedom across the Middle East and North Africa,' said Hague.
'They helped to spur positive reform in countries such as Morocco, Algeria, Jordan,Yemen and to a certain extent in Bahrain, by showing that governments must address legitimate aspirations for economic development and political participation to build stability over the long term.' – TradeArabia News Service
More Government & Laws Stories
- Saudi sets up panel on labour disputes
- Sand-dredging bill is hit by funding row
- Saudi rejects Maliki's charges on funding militants
- Independent foreign policy non-negotiable: Qatar
- Bahrain to crack down on bogus investments
- Bahrain urged to set up national plan to fight cyber crime
- Galfar ex-CEO gets 15 years' jail over bribes
- New law on family violence on the way in Bahrain
- Four blast suspects are remanded in Bahrain
- Bahrain to step up war on terror
- Norton Rose Fulbright moves London head to Dubai
- DSG ‘ready to implement Smart Dubai Strategy’
- Iraqi women protest new draft law
- Bahrain police 'face more danger in line of duty'
- Saudi names Brotherhood as terrorist group
- Qatar outraged over terror claims
- Bahrain PM condemns exploitation of children
- Qatar will not alter foreign policy: source
- Bahrain accuses Iran of fomenting trouble
- 'Put security before rights' in Bahrain: publisher
- 'Hizbollah trained Daih blast suspect'
- Key terror blast suspects named in Bahrain
- $2.6m Royal Fund for martyrs set up
- Bahrain to draw up new anti-terror laws
- GCC ROW: Qatar voices surprise over envoys pull out
- GCC tobacco tax rise ‘will fuel illicit trade’
- Saudi, UAE, Bahrain withdraw envoys from Qatar
- Bahrain explosion draws global condemnation
- GDN photographer hurt in blast is discharged
- Iran playing increasing role in Bahrain unrest