Bahrain to set up database on abuse cases
Manama, March 21, 2013
Bahrain will soon set up a national database to record cases of violence against women, said the deputy secretary-general of the Supreme Council for Women (SCW).
It aims to build a comprehensive information system on the status of battered women and girls in Bahrain, Dhawiya Al Alawi was quoted as saying in our sister publication the Gulf Daily News (GDN).
The initiative is being conducted in collaboration with government bodies and civil organisations.
"The objective is to enforce the social bond that exists through knowledge-sharing based on a joint national database," she said.
"It can be used in preparation of local, regional and international reports, research papers and future plans."
She was speaking during a ceremony to commemorate International Women's day at the United Nations (UN) House in Manama yesterday.
The event also marked Bahrain signing the UN-backed International Agreement To End Violence Against Women.
Al Alawi said the first phase of the project has been completed, and involved forming a joint committee consisting of representatives from SCW and government bodies.
"They are the Interior Ministry, Social Development Ministry, Justice and Islamic Affairs Ministry and Heath Ministry," she added.
The initiative comes in line with the council's National Strategic Plan on the Advancement of Bahraini Women, which looks to ensure economic and social needs of families and reduce violence against women.
Women's rights activists have been campaigning to implement laws to protect women from abuse for years, and Shura Council member Dr Jehad Al Fadhel yesterday stressed discussions were ongoing to pass a new legislation to combat domestic violence.
"The legislative board is currently discussing a law which not only covers violence against women but also includes the whole family such as children and men," she said. "There is continuous communication among all those involved to make this law a reality."
However, she said the law was not enough without raising awareness on the widespread issue.
"Implementation of the law could limit violence, but awareness in terms of protection from domestic violence is needed to decrease cases," she explained.
Her comments were supported by Bahrain Women's Union member Sabah Al Dossary, who has been rallying for the implementation of the law since 2009.
"We are really urging the council to quickly finalise the law and implement it," she told the GDN. "The more we delay this law, the more violence cases will be recorded."
Meanwhile, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident representative and United Nations resident co-ordinator Peter Grohmann said Bahrain has the second best index in the Gulf according to the gender inequality index of the most recent human development report.
"It comes second following UAE, but obviously challenges remain," he said. "Bahrain has provided leadership in empowering girls and women in the region."
The UN agreement has been signed by 130 member states, and it calls to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. It also urges governments to take concrete action to protect and promote women's rights and fundamental freedoms.
Thousands of representatives of governments, intergovernmental organisations, civil society, private sector and UN partners collaborated on the document during the two-week 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York. – TradeArabia News Service