Bahrain seeks UN backing for NIHR
Manama, June 3, 2014
Bahrain is seeking UN accreditation for its National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR).
It will apply for the body to be recognised by the UN's Human Rights Council later this month after the Shura Council yesterday approved amendments that grant it more powers, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
MPs have already approved changes to the rights watchdog, which will now be referred to His Majesty King Hamad for ratification.
Both the foreign and human rights ministries have also backed the changes, which have been fast-tracked by both chambers of the National Assembly.
The new-look institution will see the number of board members increased from nine to 11, with representatives of different communities, women and minorities.
It will be responsible for coming up with a national strategy to improve human rights protection, make recommendations and study existing laws to ensure they comply with Bahrain's international obligations.
The NIHR will also present shadow reports to accompany government submissions on the international stage, have the right to monitor human rights violations, advise concerned bodies, receive complaints, offer assistance to authorities and participate in international conferences.
Its members will also be able to visit prisons and conduct investigations commissioned by the King, with powers to report government bodies that fail to provide documents, information and data to the Cabinet.
Its executive decisions will be implemented by a secretary-general and all members are barred from leaking secret information, but can announce non-classified information to the media.
"This is an example of our huge efforts over the past 18 months and articles drawn up here are better than what many other countries have in similar institutions," said NIHR president and Shura Council member Dr Abdulaziz Abul.
"We have a bigger role and bigger say than required by international standards and we are now seeking international recognition this month from the Human Rights Council with the approval of this law.
"Bahrain has taken big steps in human rights and today we have a model for the future." - TradeArabia News Service