The Declaration of the Constitutional Monarchy
- Constitution: guarantees individual rights and freedoms including woman’s participation and right in election and voting
- May 19th 2002 municipal election which is open to foreigners owning property in Bahrain
- October 24th 2002 legislative elections
The National Action Charter
- Approved by an overwhelming majority (over 98%) in a popular referendum and ratified by H.M the King by Amiri Order 17/2001 of 16 February 2001
- Provides for a democratically-elected legislative body, with women entitled both to vote and to stand as candidates, guarantees the separation of powers and a fully independent judiciary, reaffirms personal rights and freedoms, and sets out a framework for Bahrain’s economic, social and political progress
The releases of Prisoners and Detainees held on National Security grounds, and the Return of Bahrainis from Abroad
- Following substantial releases and pardons in recent years, an Amiri Decree of 5 February 2001 ordered and an amnesty and the release of all persons held for offenses against national security, and extended the amnesty to Bahrainis living abroad
Repeal of State Security Law
- The State Security Law of 1975 was repealed by Law by Decree 11 of 2001 on 18 Feb 2001. In addition, the Court established by Article 185 of the Penal Code 1976 has been abolished
Establishment of a National Human Rights Body
- Established at the Shura Council with a wide-ranging mandate to investigate human rights issues
- In addition, an independent non-governmental organization, the Bahrain Human Rights Society, has recently been authorized to begin its valuable work
Women appointed to the Shura Council
- From the start of its current session of October 2000, the Shura (Consultative) Council has included among its membership a number of women, as well as representatives of religious minorities
Establishment of the Supreme Council for the Judiciary
- Established to further safeguard independence of judges and integrity of the judicial process
Continuing Cooperative Discussions with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
- Wide-ranging dialogue continues with a view to expanding human rights cooperation, including a visit to Bahrain by an OHCHR technical delegation in late 2000
The Visit by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
- Bahrain hosted a visit by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention from 20-24 October 2001
Visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross
- The ICRC paid visits to Bahrain since 1996 in accordance with a 1996 Memorandum of Understanding
Submission of Bahrain’s Report under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The report was discussed by the Committee on the Rights of the Child on 28th January 2002.
Withdrawal of Reservation to Article 20 of the Convention Against Torture.
Steps are currently under way to transfer the prosecution Department from the Ministry of Interior to the Ministry of Justice and Islamic affairs.
The creation of a Financial Accountability Council is under discussion within the National Charter Activation Committee.
An urgent housing needs plan for Bahraini citizens was adopted by the Cabinet on 13th May 2001.
Moreover, the housing projects budget was increased to BD 25 million for 2001-2002, as well as increasing the housing loans budget by BD 10 million to reach BD 30 million.
Announcement of a project consisting of providing 215 plots as well as 106 housing units in Sitra area.
Decreasing the tuition fees for all Bahraini students enrolled in the University of Bahrain from BD 720 to BD 120 for each academic year.
Providing financial aid for the unemployed (BD 100 for married and BD 70 for unmarried citizens).
On 28th May, 2001, the Government decided to amend the Association Law in order to enable the establishment of a National Trade Union.
The Kingdom of Bahrain achieved an advanced position (40th rank globally), and the first rank in the Arab world, in the human development index of the UNDP Human Development Report which was published in the year 2001.
In July 2001, the Government sponsored the orphans living in Bahrain.
Later in the year this sponsorship was extended to divorced and widowed women.
On 22nd August 2001 the Supreme Council for Women was established.
During late year 2001 the State of Bahrain witnessed the appointment of the first lady as a Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Women with a rank of a minister.
More than 360 Non-Governmental Organizations were established in Bahrain by the end of the year 2001.
The Municipal Elections Law was finalized in the Shura Council during the month of December 2001.
The State of Bahrain contributed 10’000 US Dollars for the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.
On 5th February 2002 H.M the King announced the following:
- Firstly, every citizen will fully own the housing unit that he paid half of its value
- Secondly, every citizen is exempted of paying the remaining installments of the loan he paid its half value
- Thirdly, exempting every citizen, benefiting from housing services, of paying half of any due installments.
(More than 30,000 Bahraini families benefited from this announcement)
In 2002 a program was initiated to employ more Bahrainis in Bahrain Defense Force
as well as in the Ministry of Education.
The elections were held at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, on 9th May, 2006 during the 60th session of the UN General Assembly.
Since 1999, the Kingdom of Bahrain has undertaken a major reform programme, focusing on political and economic development, and the protection and promotion of human rights, which are enshrined in and protected by its Constitution, and will continue this emphasis in the future.The Kingdom of Bahrain is committed to upholding the rule of law for the prosperity of its people, and to protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms. All national policies and programmes include, and will continue to include, human rights dimensions.
Bahrain has also promoted the role of women, which it views as crucial in society. Women have their full political rights, and both voted and stood as candidates in the 2002 Parliamentary and Municipal elections. Women are represented in the Shura Council, and have attained the highest levels in both the public and private sector.
The Supreme Council for Women, established in 2001, along with a number of non-governmental women's societies and other organizations, are also adopting innovative strategies for the advancement and empowerment of women politically, economically and socially.
Civil society and the non-governmental sector are also flourishing. More than 368 non-governmental organizations have been established within a transparent legal framework, including a numerous human rights groups, among which are the Bahrain Human Rights Society, which recently carried out an inspection of Bahrain’s prisons, and a local branch of Amnesty International. The Kingdom of Bahrain will continue to work to promote and assist its NGOs, especially those dealing with human rights, in a clear and transparent manner and in a free and open environment.
The Kingdom of Bahrain is a party to the following major human rights Conventions:
- Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and the two protocols thereto:
- Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography (CRC-OPSC)
- Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (CRC-OPAC)
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
- Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
- Slavery Convention, 1926
- Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 1948
- United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, and its two protocols:
- Protocol to Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children
- Protocol against the Smuggling of migrants by Land, Sea and Air.
In addition, Bahrain is actively studying becoming a Party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which the Government has referred to Parliament.
The Kingdom of Bahrain has continued to contribute financially to the Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as to other programmes, on an ongoing basis. Such contributions are intended to strengthen the work of the Office and the implementation of its human rights programmes. The Kingdom of Bahrain will continue such contributions, where possible, in the future. The Government of Bahrain is also actively cooperating with the United Nations special human rights mechanisms as well as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which has resultedin in visits from the former High Commissioner, Mrs. Mary Robinson in 2002, and from the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in 2001. As part of its campaign to combat trafficking in persons, and in a spirit of international cooperation, Bahrain also envisages a visit from the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons in the near future.
The Kingdom of Bahrain is committed to the United Nations General Assembly resolution 60/251, which established the Human Rights Council Having been elected to membership of the Council, will assist in creating a conducive international atmosphere and commitment for cooperation in human rights. The Kingdom of Bahrain, through its membership of the Council, is also committed to supporting the United Nations human rights machinery, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Kingdom of Bahrain commit itself to the principles of consultation and dialogue and cooperation with all United Nations members, and Human Rights Council members in particular, in a spirit of transparency and openness, in order to strengthen human rights and fundamental freedoms worldwide. Bahrain will, as it has always done, continue to promote respect, tolerance and solidarity. The Kingdom of Bahrain will continue its cooperation and coordination with Non-Governmental Organizations, which are genuine partners in developing the work of the Council in general, and on human rights in particular. The Kingdom of Bahrain will work with other actors within the international community to develop and strengthen human rights, through the implementation of human rights principles and standards enshrined in regional and international agreements.