Foreign AffairsWritten evidence from Abdulrahman Rashid Bumjaid MP, Head of Foreign Affairs, Defense and National Security Committee, Council of Representatives, Kingdom of Bahrain


The culture of human rights vary according to differences amongst societies in terms of conceiving the concept, and based upon allocating what is fit to be included as a human right and what is not. As such, a number of definitions were made, while there were many different schools that looked into the issue of human rights.

This report sheds more light on the achievements that were made by the Kingdom of Bahrain over the past few years in the field of human rights. Such achievements are deep-rooted by the Kingdom’s relentless efforts, within the context of an unwavering commitment to the principles of human rights, the role and efforts exerted by the legislative authority, as well as the continued cooperation between the Kingdom and the UK in the field of human rights; in addition to the challenges being faced by the Kingdom of Bahrain therein.

First: The Kingdom’s efforts to Uphold the Principles of Human Rights:

1. Internal Commitments According to the Constitution and National Laws

Since the commencement of the reform program in 2001 that was initiated by HM the King—Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa; the Kingdom reiterated its commitment to further bolster the principles of human rights by applying transparency, the rule of law, popular participation in political life and public affairs; and to exert additional efforts that aim to develop the existing legislations in order to correspond to the Kingdom’s international commitments in the field of human rights. Bahrain, at the outset of the program, endeavored to make a qualitative leap in the ruling system in the Kingdom, by working to achieve the transformation of democracy, lay down the foundations of the rule of law, constitutional institutions, and establish the concept of governance by means of a popular referendum on the national action charter, which was supported by up to 98.4% of Bahrainis. Additionally, it endeavored to abolish the State security law and court. It also issued a comprehensive pardon pertinent to State security crimes, and the unconditional pardon of political detainees on charges of public rights. It also allowed the unconditional return of all exiled Bahrainis, inclusive of their return to their jobs that was coupled with financial compensations; as well as other initiatives that were warmly received by political, local, and international circles.

Further, the legislative authority was formed according to the constitutional amendments in 2002; last of which were in 2012 stipulating that the House of Representatives comprises of 40 members, who are selected by secret and direct balloting. The Shoura Council (Senate) consists of 40 members who are appointed by HM the King, and must be competent in all political, legal, academic, and economic domains; hence ensuring proper representation of all minorities.

Women in Bahrain, where awarded—for the first time in a GCC country- the right to political participation by means of candidature and participation in both parliamentary and municipal elections, and to express their views in public platforms. Moreover, both the House of Representatives and the Shoura Council are to assume an expanded role in terms of investigating human rights related issues, formed a human rights committee.

The aforementioned reforms program further promoted independence of the judiciary, as an effective tool to safeguard human rights, public freedoms, personal freedoms, justice, equality, and freedom; by addressing all civil, administrative, military, and personal affairs. Additionally, a Constitutional Court was established in 2002 to monitor the constitutionality of all legislations and laws, as well as the Prosecutor General Bureau as an independent entity of the judiciary in 2003, which oversees the litigation of criminal cases; while the “Higher Judicial Council” is charged with overseeing the flow of processes and litigations at courts and supporting departments.

During the National Dialogue in 2011, a number of views were submitted in relation to promoting independence of the judiciary; which led to amending certain provisions of the judicial authority law that were issued by HM the King recently in the Decreed Law (44) for 2012. It is note worthy that the recent amendments further bolstered judicial independence in the Kingdom, by means of guaranteeing the utmost levels of financial and administrative independence of the judiciary, away from the intervention or supervision of neither the executive nor the legislative authorities, according to the concept of authorities segregation stipulated in the Kingdom’s constitution. Further, the said amendments are in harmony with the UN approved fundamental principles of judicial independence.

2. Joining International Agreements Related to Human Rights

The Kingdom of Bahrain, based on its commitments toward the international matrix in the field of human rights, was keen to develop its laws and legislations after it joined human rights related international agreements, including:

International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights in 2006.

International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in 2007.

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Convention on Discrimination in Employment and Occupation in 2000.

Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor in 2001.

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in 2002.

Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Two Optional Protocols.

Arab Charter on Human Rights in 2006.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination in 1965.

Bahrain also joined four of the eight ILO agreements pertinent to human rights.

The two conventions numbered (29) and (105) on the Elimination of Forced and Compulsory Labor, and Convention No. (111) on discrimination in respect of employment and occupation, and Convention No. (182) on the Worst Forms of Child Labor.

3. Establishing the National Institute on Human Rights

The NIHR was established according to the Decreed Order No. (46) for 2009, and amended by Decreed Order No. (28) for 2012 as an independent and neutral institute according to the Paris Principles for 1993. It is charged with developing a comprehensive strategy to promote and protect human rights in the Kingdom. It also provides recommendations on issuing legislations related to human rights, to correspond to the Kingdom’s international commitments. Further, it endeavors to disseminate the culture of human rights, receive complaints therein, cooperate with the competent national and international organizations to promote human rights, in order to achieve the institute objectives.

In addition to establishing the Human Rights Ministry; there are a number of specialized committees and entities; such as: Bahrain Institute for Political Development and Complaints Management at the Royal Court, the Complaints and Human Rights Management Department at the Interior Ministry, the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, the National Center to Support Private Organizations at the Human Rights Ministry, and the Laborers Complaints Committee at the Ministry of Labor.

4. Steps Adopted by the Kingdom to Address the Unfortunate Events of February and March 2011, and the events thereafter

The democratic process in the Kingdom of Bahrain encountered a number of grave challenges since the February 2011 events, which almost pushed the country toward a serious security landslide. However; the political leadership wisdom, and its responsible dealings with the crisis to achieve security and stability; as well as peaceful coexistence of all society segments, the rule of law, and work toward restoring order to society; worked to undertake a number of steps therein that underlined its keen desire to uphold the respect of human rights, in addition to achieving stability and security, including:

(a)Calling for National Dialogue: HM the King called on both the executive and legislative authorities to launch “national conciliation dialogue” in July 2011, which was spearheaded by the House of Representatives, with the participation of all national and political segments without pre-conditions; such as members of both houses of parliament, representatives of political societies, the media, public figures, representatives of businessmen, representatives of the civil society, and representatives of residing foreigners; all of which aimed to reflect the consecration of democracy as a solid principle in this reformist era.

(b)Establishing the Independent Bahrain Independent Inquiry Commission: Royal Order No. (28) for 2011 was issued to establish Bahrain Independent Inquiry Commission of the events that took place in February and March 2011. This international independent and neutral committee was headed by Professor Mahmoud Basyouni1, and comprised of a number of leading legal personalities who enjoy prestigious world reputation. This came to stress the leadership keen interest to consecrate transparency without any concealing of facts, and the State’s commitment to establish justice, the rule of law, and the respect of human rights based on credibility and mutual confidence.

(c)Holding Supplementary Elections: December 24, 2011 was set to hold supplementary parliamentary elections to fill the vacant seats of the House of Representatives, after 18 deputies of Al Wefaq Society resigned in the aftermath of the February 14, 2011 events. The elections witnessed a wide participation from all constituencies.

(d)Referring the National Safety Law to the Constitutional Court to probe its appropriateness.

(e)Establishing a Compensation Fund: Royal Decree No. (30) was issued to establish the Compensation Fund, while civilian courts were to review cases of reparation. The Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs also launched the civil settlements initiative, which enables the affected of expeditious settlement.

5. The State Adopted a number of steps, following issuance of the Independent fact-finding committee report as follows

(a)A Royal Order was issued to form a national committee with regard to the Bahrain Independent Inquiry Commission, which membership comprised members from both houses of parliament, members of political societies, and civil society organizations; whose report was submitted on 20/3/2012.

(b)Including international competent organizations to support the governmental security agencies and officials, in improving procedures of addressing events.

(c)Reinstating all dismissed workers in both the private and public sectors, despite their participation in the strikes and damages inflicted on the national economy.

(d)Releasing some detainees arrested in the events observed by the Kingdom in February and March 2011.

(e)Dropping charges related to the freedom of expression and opinion on 334 detainees arrested in the events observed by the Kingdom in February and March 2011.

(f)Holding court marshals against all military personnel involved in cases of breaching human rights.

(g)The Court of Cassation revoked sentences against 7 accused in killing two police officers, in which two of the accused received death sentences while the remaining five received life sentences. The Court decided to refer the case to the Higher Court of Appeals.

(h)The Constitutional Court ruling of the National Safety Law appropriateness, and dismissing all cases filed against Royal Decree (18) for 2011 pertinent to certain provisions of the National Safety Declaration. This constituted a comprehensive refutation of the Bahraini opposition claims in the media, and the fake allegations that aim to misleading the public opinion at the local, regional, and international levels.

(i)Referring constitutional amendments to the House of Representatives based on the consensus stipulated in the National Dialogue report submitted to HM the King; which entailed awarding the House of Representatives a larger and an expanded authority in legislations and overseeing the Executive Authority performance. Both houses of parliament approved the amendments that were issued in May 2012.

(j)Reforming the Kingdom’s laws in line with international standards as per the international agreements, whereas a number of amendments were introduced to the Bahraini Penal code, including:

Issuing Law No. (51) for 2012 that entailed amending articles (168) and (169) of the Penal Code; and adding Article (69)bis to the Law in line with the Bahrain Independent Inquiry Commission recommendations. The Law was published in the official gazette, Issue 3073 on October 11, 2012. The said amendment softened the punishment of any person who deliberately disseminates false news, hence conditioned inflicting damage to qualify for punishment. The new Article (69) bis stipulated that all restrictions pertinent to the right of expression must be construed in the Penal Code or any other such law within the context of the necessary framework of a democratic society.

Law No. (52) for 2012 was issued to amend Articles (208) and (232) of the Penal Code. Article (208) stated an imprisonment sentence on every public servant or person who inflicted severe pain or suffering, whether physically or morally on a person he detains or under his control for purposes of obtaining from him or others information or confession. The penalty shall be life imprisonment if the torture led to the death of the victim as stipulated in the said article; hence retroactive measures are not applicable to the said torture crimes.

(k)The Attorney General haled all legal proceedings in all crimes related to freedom of expression, in compliance with the new article of the Penal Code No. (69)bis , which stipulated that all restrictions pertinent to the right of expression in any Bahrain Law, must be construed within the context of the necessary framework of a democratic society; and that all indictments thereto do not fall within the crimes of the freedom of expression.

(l)As per the Bahrain Independent Inquiry Commission report, edict No. (57) for 2012 was issued to establish an independent office for the Complaints Secretary General at the Interior Ministry. The said edict stipulated in Article (1) that all supervisors and executive personnel of the Public Security forces shall be held responsible for the acts of their subordinates, as per stipulated in Article (4/1) of the said edict; and should therein review and inspect all complaints submitted by any person or entity against security forces under their control.

(m)Legal proceedings were undertaken against security forces and officers at the Attorney General to investigate claims of violence against detainees. The Third Grand Criminal Court sentenced one internal security officer to seven years in prison for using violence against protestors. There are other similar cases being reviewed before the judiciary at present.

(n)Law No. (49) for 2012 was issued amending Article (81) pertinent to the of Public Security Forces Law, issued by virtue of the Decreed Law No. (3) for 1983, whereas the new article states that crimes related to torture, inhuman treatment, demeaning dignity crimes or death shall not be considered of a military nature. The said Law was published in the official gazette, issue No. (3073) on October 11, 2012.

(o)Law No. (50) for 2012 was issued amending the Criminal Procedures Law No. (46) for 2002. New Article (22)bis was added to the said law, awarding the right to any claimant being subjected to reprisal, due to a preceding claim of torture or any other form of severe punishment, inhuman, or demeaning treatment; to claim their civil rights prior to indictment during arguments, investigation, or before any court probing a criminal case, in any form until a decision is made to close arguments. It was published in the official gazette, issue (3073) on October 11, 2012. The said amendment also added a new Article (81)bis was also added that gave the prosecutor the right to review all claims related to torture, inhuman treatment, demeaning treatment, or death if afflicted on an accused, witness or expert. The said amendment also added to the Law a new Article (27)bis by which it allows the Attorney General, at the request of the claimant for safety considerations, to undertake the necessary measures for protecting the claimant against all threats related to making a testimony or providing information.

(p)Decreed Law No. (44) for 2012 was issued amending the Judicial Authority Law, by which the Higher Judicial Council was awarded an independent budget, in order to have additional independence. The amendment was published in the official gazette, Issue No. (3071) on September 27, 2012.

(q)Issuing Royal Decree No. (13) for 2012 about the system of work of the National Fund to compensate the affected.

(r)Reviewing sentences issued against the involved in the acts of violence: all cases reviewed by the National Safety courts were transferred to civil courts to guarantee fair trials. As for indictments issued by the National Safety Court, the Higher Judicial Council ruled on January 2, 2012 the establishment of a commission to review the said indictments to guarantee the accused rights for a fair trial.

6. Comprehensive Periodic Review of Human Rights

As the number of human rights related agreement is on the rise internationally, there was a need to innovate a mechanism to ensure the upholding of governments to such agreements, and to measure the extent of States’ respect of the principles of human rights, in addition to the possibility of holding them responsible for any violations thereto.

As such, the UN Human “Rights Council decided in 2006 to establish the comprehensive periodic review mechanism, whereas it would be the accredited international mechanism to assess the adhering of all UN member-states to their commitments regarding human rights.

The comprehensive period review is a working group comprising 47 members who are selected in a secret balloting that would allow each member-state to submit its report to the Human Rights Council during a comprehensive review session that is held every four years.

One of the merits of this mechanism is that the Council contributes in holding the violating countries responsible and accountable for their breaches. It also avails the opportunity not only for governments to submit their views, but also civil society organizations of different disciplines to participate in the session and hold their governments accountable for breaches of human rights.

Bahrain completed a comprehensive period review in 2012 at the Council, whether during the main session held in May 2012, or during the outcomes session that was held in September 2012that revealed the extent of upholding the recommendations, and its keen interest to safeguard such recommendations.

In the outcomes session, the Kingdom of Bahrain revealed its stance regarding 156 recommendations out of 176 made by the Human Rights Council. Bahrain fully approved 143 recommendations and 13 others in part; while expressing reservations on others because of contravening the Islamic Law, or the constitution, or interfering in the State policy; since such recommendations were of a political nature.

H.E. the Foreign Minister reviewed a number of reforms made by the Kingdom of Bahrain, by virtue of recommendations made at the main session held in May 2012, most important of which are:

(a)Forming a special investigation unit that is directly affiliated to the Attorney General office, to investigate conduct breaches by police offices for purposes of holding them accountable. A new post of the Commissioner General of National Security Agency was created.

(b)The government provided compensations amounting to USD 2.6 million to the families of 17 victims, or allocated another sum of USD 3 million to the next phase of compensations.

(c)A Royal Order was issued to amend provisions of the National Institute for Human Rights in line with the Paris Principles, which are the principles developed to ensure independence of the national entities on Human Rights from the government at the international level.

(d)Bahrain developed, for the first time at the GCC level, a Human Rights Ministry as the executive arm to coordinate with all governmental departments, particularly governmental agencies to ensure the State adherence to its international commitments.

(e)Bahrain opted to implement the proposal made by HM the King to establish an Arab Human Rights Court, within the context of the Arab League.

The Outcomes Session resulted in approved in the comprehensive periodic review on human rights report submitted by the Kingdom of Bahrain by the UN Higher Commission for Human Rights. This reflects the tangible efforts exerted by the Kingdom of Bahrain toward promoting its commitment to the highest standards of human rights. It is viewed as a national honorable achievement by the leadership, government, and people of Bahrain; and thus solid evidence, as well as an international blessing of the reform steps made by the Kingdom, and reveals the reality of human rights in the Kingdom in terms of the achievements attained in the field of human rights.

The winning of Bahrain in the Consultative Committee of the Human Rights Council2 is yet another evidence of the international confidence of Bahrain’s adherence to its international commitments in the field of human rights, which is the highest committee in the Council, as a representative of Asia.

This winning also reflects the international confidence in the achievements attained by Bahrain in the field of human rights, and respecting human dignity; hence that not a single country objected to Bahrain’s proposal of China being its replacement. On the contrary, China expressed full support to the candidature of Bahrain based on its good reputation and experience in the field of human rights.

Second: Legislative Authority Efforts in the Field of Human Rights:

Both house of parliament in the Kingdom of Bahrain ratified a number of laws, legislations, and decreed laws of importance to promote democratic practices and protect human rights, most importantly:

Decreed Law No. (78) for 2006 on Unemployment Benefit.

Law No. (1) for 2008 on Combating Human Trafficking.

Law No. (19) for 2009 on Family Provisions (Section 1).

Law No. (7) for 2010 endorsing the UN Convention Against Corruption, and others ; in addition to the House of Representatives supervisory role by forming a number of parliamentary investigation committees, and discussing applications for questioning.

The genuine role of the legislative authority in addressing human rights issues is evident in light of the crisis and challenges observed by the State; whereas the local and international circles charged the legislative authority to address human rights issues, as the principle representative of popular will in the State. This issue surfaced during the unfortunate events observed in 2011, and the aftermath, which dictated that both houses of parliament should protect freedoms and rights, while reiterating the conservation of societal security and stability. The role of both houses of parliament appeared clearly during the consecutive developments observed by the Kingdom in early 2011, which have contributed largely in creating a real-de-facto that bares a number of challenges for the legislative authority. The developments targeted internal security and stability as of mid February 2011. Despite the demands calling for reforms, an issue that does not contradict the leadership directives, in addition to the decisions and regulations issued by the legislative authority; the events accelerated by virtue of a number of external interventions, in an attempt to destabilize security and stability, threatened the safety of citizens and residents; aimed at altering the path of peaceful demands for reforms. As such, the situation changed to take the form of unprecedented violence and targeting of the innocent. This reality gave the legislative authority two options: the first is to continue in a state of no security and no stability; or restore order and security as well as respect to the peaceful demands; hence submit such demands to the concerned authorities as per the legislative and executive mechanisms in the Kingdom of Bahrain. This dictated a firm legislative stance that was evident by:

Deputies Individual and Collective Initiatives: deputies were active through individual and collective initiatives to reach out to citizens, and understand their demands; as well as draw the parameters of the crisis internally and externally. They also opted to possibly respond to the demands as per the authorities availed to members of both houses of parliament, restore security and stability with a focus on managing development, ending all feuds, and societal variations.

The Leadership and People Confidence in the Legislative Authority: Whereas the legislative authority attended to its role to settle internal feuds, achieve reforms by meeting popular demands in light of segregating demands from protests that led to instigating sectarian differences in the past era; the legislative authority carried out such duties by:

First Step: engaging the house of representatives in continual negotiations with members of Al Wefaq Bloc, in an attempt to reverse their views regarding a collective resignation from the house, following the February 14, 2011 events; and to give them endless ultimatums to change their stance on the situation. However, all such attempted simply failed by virtue of the bigot stance of the Bloc. Such attempts aimed at preserving civil order and peace, maintain national harmony and solidarity, and refrain from damaging the political balance within the House of Representatives during a critical era.

Second Step: it is represented by the launching of the National Conciliation Dialogue; whereas HM the King requested from the House of Representatives to spearhead this dialogue on July 2, 2011. It comprised members from both houses of parliament, as well as representatives of political societies, the media, public figures, civil society organizations, and others to discuss the popular demands in addition to the reforms from four main perspectives: the political, legal, economic, and social. The debates continued until July 25, 2011, hence over 300 invitees attended the debates. A report was developed clarifying the views of national conciliation, taking into account the above perspectives. The debates were an important step toward bridging the gap that emerged during the disputes between parliament and the Bahraini people. This step succeeded in achieving a number of aspirations within this context; whereas the demands were communicated to the legislative authority for consideration and discussion, as well as change the constitution to meet the aspirations of the Bahraini people. There was a consensus on the constitutional changes at the House of Representatives in April 11, 2012, and a similar consensus by the Shoura Council in April 25, 2012. The amendments were debated over a period of 70 days that yielded the amendment of 19 core articles of the 2002 constitution. This was regarded as a response to the popular demands made at the National Conciliation Dialogue, and an attempt to settle all disputes and internal rifts through the legislative authority, and reiterates the leadership as well as the popular confidence in the role played by the legislative authority.

Third Step: this step was linked to the legalities of the situation, whether during the crisis observed by the Kingdom of Bahrain or in the aftermath. Such legalities called for a bold intervention from the leadership to understand its causes, and hold those involved accountable for their undertakings. HM the King ordered the forming of Bahrain Independent Inquiry Commission on June 26, 2011 by Royal Order No. (28) for 2011, to probe the events in Bahrain during February and March 2011 and the outcomes it yielded.

The Commission report detailed the findings after investigating all the events in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and highlighted the responsible persons and entities for such events. It drafted recommendations and submitted them to HM the King on November 29, 2011.

Stressing HM interest to implement such recommendations to restore security and stability, as well as achieve justice by means of holding those responsible accountable for their undertakings, and in appreciation of the popular confidence in the leadership; a Royal Order was issued on November 26, 2011 to establish a National Committee on the Bahrain Independent Inquiry Commission recommendations, as per recommendation 1715 of the report. The Speaker of Shoura Council and membership of a number of both houses of parliament, and civil society employees headed this Committee. The framework of the Committee tasks achieved a number of objectives that aimed to narrow the internal gaps, restore conciliation among all sects in Bahrain by holding the responsible accountable and present them to justice; reinstating all the dismissed persons because of the events to their jobs, compensate the damaged; as well as issuing a Royal Decree that considers the National Security Agency specializing in the collection of information only; hence referring all arrests and detainees to the Interior Ministry. It also stipulated instructing the Prime Minister to complete all the Committee recommendations as soon as possible; instructed the Interior Minister to refer all military cases related to death, torture, inhuman treatment, and other demeaning charges to the Attorney General in its capacity as an independent judicial entity. It comprised a number of other initiatives and national achievements that called for bridging the gaps, and surmounts the crisis by virtue tolerance and compassion, as well as denouncing violence and feuds. The aforementioned contributed largely and clearly in strengthening the bonds between parliament and the people, as well as led to settling many disputes and rifts that were dividends of the crisis.

Third: Challenges Encountered by the Human Rights Reality in Bahrain:

1. The fundamental challenge being encountered to continue upholding principles of human rights and the prospects of expanding therein is the extent of political forces comprehension of the concept and importance of respecting it, without infringing or undermining the significance of societal security and stability. As such, the equation stipulates increasing the awareness of all societal stakeholders to harmonize the requirements of applying the concept of human rights and international commitments thereto; in addition to refraining from being exploited by challenges and logos that contravene stability, security, and development of the country.

2. The other challenge is closely associated with foreign threats being faced by society, whereas fears are mounting from assaults by individuals who are supported by foreign organizations, entities, or even countries on the sovereignty of Bahrain under justifications of not abiding or respecting human rights; in addition to the dual perspective of human rights by such entities.

3. There is also a challenge that is associated with harmonizing Bahraini society with external pressures to sign agreements related to human rights that contravene the internal society nature; as well as the societal understanding and level of development in terms of accepting such concepts related to human rights, hence their compatibility with the constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

4. The Kingdom’s keen interest not to create a rift in the parameters of human rights commitment at the GCC level, considering the achievements attained by GCC countries pertinent to their commitment to human rights; taking into account the Kingdom’s tangible achievements of excellence in this field.

Fourth: Bahrain-Britain Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights:

The Kingdom of Bahrain and the UK work hand in hand to promote democracy and human rights in Bahrain; based on the rooted democratic experience of Britain. The UK ambassador in Manama—Iyan Lenzy announced the visit of non-governmental British organizations to assist Bahrain in developing legislations related to the freedom of expression, and addressing the optional protocol related to combating torture convention. He also said: the visit of such organizations comes in response to a Bahraini request to receive the necessary assistance to further promote human rights, and uphold the comprehensive review recommendations on human rights that were held in Geneva in September 2012. The ambassador renewed his country’s welcome of all the steps undertaken to implement recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Inquiry Commission that were issued a year ago, and noted that the nature of some recommendations require time due to their association with societal behavior. He underscored his country’s condemnation to all acts of violence observed by Bahrain, and said: “there is no place for violence in Bahrain”. He urged all political stakeholders to engage in a dialogue without pre-conditions or pre-assumptions.

Britain undertook a number of steps in the field of supporting the Kingdom’s undertakings pertinent to human rights, including:

1.Slynn Foundation, which is a non-governmental organization, visited the Kingdom to discuss means of improving the performance of courts in dealing with a large number of cases and other issues related to the same field. It also held a number of meetings with the Minister of Justice—Sheikh Khaled Bin Ali Al Khalifa, in addition to other senior judges and officials at the Ministry.

2.Jeffry Donaldson, a British MP and head of Bridge Foundation to Build Peace and Resolve Disputes; and Kingslid Donaldson—Director of the Foundation also visited the Kingdom, whereby they drafted a program for a potential partnership based on their expertise in conciliation in N. Ireland. They held meetings with representatives of the executive and legislative authorities, as well as political societies.

3.A two-week program was held Nottingham in March 2012 for judges and prosecutors as well as human rights officials, on UN agreements on human rights.

4.The Birmingham Judicial Center Representative, as well as the Bar Association Council are scheduled to visit Bahrain end of this year, to discuss assisting the Kingdom in developing legislations pertinent to the freedom of expression, and to counter what we call the Speech of Hatred or Instigating Speeches that are dividends of religious or ethnic causes; and to protect witnesses as well as train lawyers.

16 January 2013

1 Professor Mahmoud Sharif Basyouni is regarded as one of the reputed scholars in International Criminal Law and International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. He holds a B.A in Law from Cairo University and a PH.D in Jurisprudence from Indiana University, and Masters degree in Law from John Marshall, and PH.D degree in Law Sciences from George Washington. He worked as a Distinguished Research Professor of Law at the Law College of DePaul University until 2009, where he spent 35 years working at this University. He is the author of a number of books and published works, including landmark titles in international criminal law. He also assumed a number of positions at the UN, including primarily Head of the Drafting Committee at the Diplomatic Conference on the International Criminal Court. He also assumed the post of Head of the Drafting Committee of the UN Basic Principles for Justice of Crime Victims and Misuse of Authority in 1985. He also enjoys experiences in a number of investigation committees. He was recently the President of the UN Independent Fact-finding Committee on Libya in 2011. He also participated in numerous appointments with the UN, such as Independent Expert for the Commission on Human Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan between 2004-2006; and the Compensation and Rehabilitation for Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in former Yugoslavia in 1993.

2 The “Consultative Committee” is the most important committee of the Human Rights Council, whereby the Council rely on this committee to draft its strategic plans and legal reports. Bahrain is the first GCC country, which candidate attains membership at the Consultative Committee, and is the third Arab country after Egypt and Morocco to attain this membership.

Prepared 21st November 2013