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HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE EXAMINES BAHRAIN’S FIRST REPORT ON THE SITUATION OF CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS

4 July 2018

The Human Rights Committee today concluded its consideration of the initial report of Bahrain on the implementation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Presenting the report, Abdulla Bin Gaisal Aldoseri, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bahrain, said that a reform programme to implement the provisions of the Covenant was reflected in the National Charter of Action, approved by 98% of citizens in a referendum.  Bahrain had adopted policies aimed at combating hate speech, strengthening national unity, and creating an enabling environment for the participation of civil society or trade unions without any discrimination.  Following recent acts of violence and terrorism, an independent fact-finding commission investigating the February and March 2011 events recommended the Government to set up an independent oversight unit and a commission for prisoners and detainees, review the provisions of the Penal Code to ensure they were compatible with international standards, and ensure no impunity for perpetrators.  In November 2012, the definition of torture had been amended to bring it in line with the Convention against Torture.  Empowerment of women was a priority; there were three women Members of Parliament, 46 per cent of women had voted in the 2014 elections, women held nine seats in the Shura Council, and they owned 51 percent of private sector entities. 

In the discussion that followed, Committee Experts welcomed Bahrain to its first review under the Covenant which was an important moment for both Bahrain and the Committee, even if the report was ten years late.  Experts recalled with concern the turmoil in 2011, and the repression that followed, a challenge to the Bahrain’s stated values of tolerance and non-discrimination.  The majority Shia Muslim population felt discriminated against the Sunni who were in power, an evidence of a stark contrast between the rhetoric of Bahrain and comments from other sources.  Experts were concerned by an increase in oppression and a deterioration of human rights situation, with the repression of dissident voices and any type of opposition, the use of military courts to try civilians, extreme repression of freedom of speech and freedom of association and assembly, and punitive sentences against human rights defenders and trade unionists.  The death penalty, reserved under the Covenant for the most serious crimes, seemed applied even in crimes such as arson or obstructing a funeral.  Another concern was that the unnecessarily broad definition of the “acts of terrorism” opened up the space for its abuse, as was the violation of fundamental legal safeguards in matters involving national security.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Aldoseri said that Bahrain was on a very clear journey towards the Vision 2030, a vision of the future based on the principle of justice, equity and achieving the highest level of development, in freedom, democracy and human rights. 

Ahmed Amin Fathalla, Committee Vice-Chairperson, reminded that this dialogue was a beginning of a process, and a step in a continuing effort to promote and protect human rights.  Without the culture of human rights in a society, the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights could not be implemented.

The delegation of Bahrain consisted of representatives of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Labour and Social Development, Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments, Supreme Council for Women, Legislation and Legal Opinion Commission, Ministry of Interior, Information Affairs Authority, and the Permanent Mission of Bahrain to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

All the documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, can be found on the session’s webpage.  The webcast of the Committee’s public meetings is available via the following link: http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/.


The Committee will resume at 3 p.m. today, 4 July, to start the consideration of the fourth periodic review of Algeria (CCPR/C/DZA/4).


Report

The Committee is considering the initial report of Bahrain (CCPR/C/BHR/1).

Presentation of the Report

ABDULLA BIN FAISAL ALDOSERI, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bahrain, said that the report emphasized the foundation of the political system in Bahrain, which was justice.  Bahrain was a modern country which benefitted from the political, social and economic experience from the Covenant and made efforts to build politically and constitutionally a modern society, while taking into account new areas locally and nationally.  A reform programme to implement the provisions of the Covenant was reflected in the National Charter of Action, approved by 98% of citizens in a referendum, said the Deputy Minister. This Charter mentioned human rights, democracy and the functioning of the institutions and the rule of law, and emphasized the importance of a human rights-based approach to development.  Furthermore, Bahrain had adopted policies aimed at combating hate speech, strengthening national unity, and creating an enabling environment for the participation of civil society or trade unions without any discrimination.  Considerable efforts had been invested in the field of education, media and sustainable development, to reemphasize the policy of open dialogue and transparency.

Following the acts of violence and terrorism in Bahrain recently, His Majesty the King had set up an independent fact-finding commission composed of prominent and reputable figures to investigate the events of February and March 2011 and provide recommendations to the Government.  Of those, Bahrain had agreed to set up an independent oversight unit and a commission for prisoners and detainees; review the provisions of the Penal Code to ensure they were compatible with international standards; and ensure no impunity for perpetrators.  In November 2012, a law amending the definition of torture in the Penal Code had been adopted to bring it in line with the Convention against Torture.  Executive measures had been adopted to include civil settlement to compensate victims and an article had been added to the Penal Code to ensure democratic working of society and freedom of expression.  His Majesty the King had also called for a consensus dialogue to encourage all segments of Bahrain's population to work towards the recovery of the country, and national and social unity.  These initiatives had led to the adoption of a number of political and economic instruments that attached great importance to human rights.  Parliament had been given auditing powers in this context.  Different civil society organizations played a controlling role in the context of elections.  This reform package allowed for the adoption of various constitutional amendments that strengthened the powers of the legislative and the adoption of Government programme of work to ensure cooperation with Parliament and especially between the Prime Minister and Parliament, Mr. Aldoseri said.  The national dialogue called for by the King was considered a model in terms of political, economic and social achievements to serve the country and its people.

Various independent oversight mechanisms had been created, including the Office of the Ombudsman under the Ministry of Interior.  The Office was administratively and financially independent and operated in line with the Police Code of Conduct, and governed the working methods and working conditions of the police.  The Commission for the Rights of Prisoners and Detainees had the mandate to inspect all places of detention including juvenile detention and psychiatric hospitals, to ensure proper treatment of prisoners and that there was no torture.  Additionally, the Special Investigation Unit under the Office of the Public Prosecutor had been set up in 2012 based on the Istanbul Protocol.  It carried out investigations into wrongdoing of public officials that had led to torture, harm or death of individuals.  This body could launch investigations and consult the Public Prosecutor if it turned out that legal proceedings were necessary, noted the head of the delegation.

Empowerment of women, said the Deputy Minister, was a priority for the authorities.  There were three women Members of Parliament, 46 per cent of women had voted in the 2014 elections, and women held nine seats in the Shura Council.  Women were increasingly participating in the labour force, in commercial activities and health sector, and today were owners of 51 percent of private sector entities.  Bahrain was considered one of the most popular destinations in the world for expatriate workers, whose families felt at ease and welcomed into society, and was one of the leading countries in the protection of rights of migrant workers.  Many laws to guarantee rights and freedoms had been adopted, including the accession to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 2006 which could be directly invoked before national courts, and the Family Act Law in 2017 which reiterated the dignity of women and was a reflection of national unity and a retraction of any attempts to fuel sectarian divisions, concluded the head of the delegation.

Questions by Committee Experts

Opening the interactive dialogue with the delegation of Bahrain, a Committee Expert welcomed the delegation to their first review under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which was an important moment for the State party and the Committee, even if the report was ten years late.

The Expert recognized the notable values declared by Bahrain, including tolerance, family cohesion, fraternity, trust, and the rejection of all forms of intolerance and discrimination, and said that those were challenged by the recent history of the country, particularly the turmoil in 2011, and the repression that followed.  The majority Shia Muslim population felt discriminated against the Sunni who were in power, noted the Expert, in evidence of a stark contrast between the rhetoric of Bahrain and comments from other sources.

Commending the legislative reforms, new institutions and positive steps forward, the Expert expressed concern by an increase in oppression and a deterioration of human rights situation, with the repression of dissident voices and any type of opposition, the use of capital punishment, the use of military courts in cases involving civilians, and punitive sentences against human rights defenders and trade unionists.  The Expert noted that he had “rarely seen such a contrast between the report of the State party and the information provided by trustworthy sources”, and hoped that this dialogue would allow the delegation to explain the differences “without accusing the non-governmental organizations” for defamation and the use of poor information.

Turning to the institutional framework and the standing of the Covenant in domestic legal order, the Expert asked which legal mechanisms existed that recognized the prevalence of the Covenant over the national legislation, how the conflicts between international law and the Covenant were resolved, how the Covenant was invoked, and whether there had been any such cases.  What were the intentions concerning the withdrawal of the three reservations Bahrain had entered to the Covenant and the ratification of the Optional Protocol?  The delegation was asked to explain the national mechanism for the preparation of reports and follow up to treaty body recommendations and how civil society organizations could participate in that process; and also explain the provisions of the Unified Family Code of 2017 which requested married women under the age of 45 to be accompanied by a male guardian on their hajj to Mecca, and whether it allowed Sunni and Shia family cases to be settled before a unified code.

Another Expert asked the delegation to comment on capital punishment, the jurisdiction of military courts over civilians, and explain how criminalization of homosexuality – an issue of concern to the Expert – worked in practice.  Expert raised gravest concern about the use of the death penalty, which according to the Covenant was meant for most serious crimes, however, it seemed that in Bahrain it was applied to crimes such as arson or obstructing a funeral.  What were the intentions of Bahrain to ensure that the death penalty was used only for most serious crimes, and was there a prospect of progressively moving away from capital punishment?

Commending the efforts by the Gulf Corporation Council to deal with extremism, racism, hatred and discrimination, another Expert remarked on lack of clarity concerning the judicial and administrative remedies for discrimination, and the lack of information on the content of the strategy for persons with disabilities, and ask the delegation to explain those issues in the framework of the Human Rights Legal and Policy Framework what dealt specifically with the matters of discrimination.  What was the most notorious form of discrimination in Bahrain and what was being done to address it and provide remedy?  What was the tangible outcome of the strategy on the rights of persons with disabilities and how it informed the State policy going forward?

Turning to counterterrorism, the Expert expressed concern that the unnecessarily broad definition of the “acts of terrorism” provided the potential for its abuse and violation of rights to the freedom of expression, and the freedom of assembly and association.  Further, the Constitution allowed the use of military trials for civilians, which, the Expert recalled, under the Covenant must be exceptional and limited to cases where State parties could show that it was justifiable.  How were the fundamental safeguards respected in matters involving national security?

Committee Experts also asked whether polygamy would be abolished; what were the prospects for eliminating early and child marriage in the absence of an official ban; the possibility of a divorce to be granted without a reason being provided, and the objective criteria for joint custody which would be guided by the well-being of children.  Experts remarked on the discrimination against women in matters of transfer of nationality to children and spouses, and about measures taken to protect women from domestic violence.

Replies by the Delegation

Responding to questions and comments concerning family and women’s issues, a delegate said that the Unified Family Act reference family relations and any legal issues that might rise in this context including custody.  Bahrain had a keen desire to promote democratic rights all levels, especially for civil society.  Organized training and awareness sessions had been implemented across several ministries, as well as focusing on audio-visual media to help spread the message of tolerance across several languages.

As for human rights training and education, the delegation explained that courses on citizenship were taught in schools, while a human rights course at the university was compulsory.  Bahrain had set up the Legal and Human Rights Clinic in 2012 which trained law students to contribute to the culture of volunteering and spreading the value of human rights.  Human rights were now a part of curricula in the police academy, and there were specialized diplomas in human rights.  Specialized programmes for judges, lawyers and prosecutors had been put in place to train them in various human rights issues including in trafficking in persons, dealing with victims of violence, and gender-based stereotypes.

Despite some challenges, the Kingdom had made great progress in the implementation of the Covenant, remarked a delegate, reiterating the commitment to continue to implement legislative and political measures that would confirm the respect for the provisions of the Covenant.  Bahrain was convinced that the protection and the promotion of human rights was the basis of good governance and sustainable development, and had reinforced the sustainable development efforts despite the challenging security situation which involved acts of terrorism and violence. 

Bahrain would also continue to spread the culture of human rights and principles of citizenship and ensure cooperation with educational and media institutions and non-governmental organizations in this regard.  The integrity and independence of the judiciary were the at the basis of the system of the rule of law in the country in which trials were being implemented in accordance with international standards.  The delegate underlined the critical role of the independent judiciary, the Committee on Human Rights, Parliament and the Shura Council in the protection and promotion of human rights in Bahrain.  Bahrain had further established The King Hamad Centre which worked on spreading the culture of tolerance and peaceful coexistence between religions and fighting extremism that fuelled terrorism and violence.  Bahrain was aware that this was a continuing process, and was determined to benefit from the constructive dialogue with the Committee and engage in cooperation to achieve the common goals of the protection human rights.

The delegate stressed that Bahrain would not permit talk about the rights of a category of the population which was a “one, united population”.  Bahrain rejected any discrimination or any sectarian qualification such as Sunni majority or Shia majority and worked on eliminating such discrimination, insisted the delegate, noting that any person mentioning such discrimination was s referred to the courts. 

The death penalty was applicable to any crime sanctioned by life sentence and to all drug related crimes given their heavy harm on the society.  According to article 260 of the Criminal Code, a death sentence was issued by consensus of all judges.  International law did not prohibit the death penalty, a delegate remarked, adding that Bahrain respected the norms in implementing the death penalty which guaranteed the human rights of persons sentenced to death.

Citizenship was required by law and could not be revoked.  Individuals found guilty of terrorist acts had their citizenship revoked after approval by the King, however, in most cases where that had happened, those individuals had other citizenship beside the Bahraini.

Commenting on questions raised on the right to freedom of religion, the delegate recalled that the Constitution stipulated Islam as the religion of the State, which was also the main source of legislation.  This also included that individuals should seek to provide a balance of duties and responsibilities of their families and their social and cultural life without prejudice to the Koran.  The delegate pointed out that all religions and denominations were allowed to practice their religion with the proactive encouragement from the State.

The law guaranteed the equality of all workers without discrimination in relation to sex, creed, or race and it also provided women with additional rights in the public and private sector.  Rights of persons with disabilities were guaranteed under the law, and any discrimination against them was sanctioned.  The prohibited job list for women was very short, a delegate said, reassuring the Committee that it was in place for the protection of women.  It included jobs such as those that required working in intense heat, which affected the health of women, particularly pregnant women.  This law was successful as 53 percent of women were employed in the public sector and 34 in the private sector.  Furthermore, women and men enjoy equal pay in terms of wages and salaries.

The reason why Bahraini women could not pass their nationality to their children or spouses was to protect them against statelessness; it did not hinder women’s citizenship rights in any ways, insisted a delegate, adding that Bahrain was discussing a new law which would give citizenship to the children of Bahraini women under certain stipulations.

The National Strategy to Protect Women from Domestic Violence had been launched, and a family court had been set up, overseen by a female judge who could issue summary decisions to provide psychological and physical support to victims and punish perpetrators. Regarding the right to property, the delegate said, women could own property and assets independently from men, which could not be used by their husbands without women’s consent.

Questions by Committee Experts

Reminding the delegation of the importance of providing accurate and precise answers to questions raised by the Committee, Experts urged the delegation to provide responses on freedom of expression and association, the use of force and torture by police officials, the situation in prison and detention centres, the revoking of citizenship under the terrorism law, and discrimination against the Shia population.

Abortion was legal only to save the life of the mother in line with the law to safeguard the lives of women, so the delegation was asked how cases involving grave disorder to an embryo were considered and whether abortion in cases involving rape would be decriminalized.

An important issue of concern was the independence of the judicial system and access to fair trial.  While the law and the Constitution recognized the independence of the judiciary clearly and without ambiguity, there were judges who carried out their work under a contract for three years, and were appointed on instruction of the king and approved by the Government.  What stability and procedural guarantees would be put in place to ensure effective independence of judicial system, and how would Bahrain consider the concerns expressed by non-governmental organizations regarding the lack of the judicial independence?

Experts noted that police used torture to obtain evidence against the accused and quoted several such cases.  Illegal arrests, no access to council, refusing to hear witness for the defence, were also other grave concerns.

The protection of rights of migrant workers, especially domestic migrant workers was another area in which Experts asked questions, particularly in relation to their protection from threats and violence, and in terms of protection of their rights in general.  The delegation was asked to explain how migrant workers were made aware of their rights, measures in place to punish those companies that abused migrant workers, and efforts to fight child labour.

Noting that the State party report claimed that there were no refugees in Bahrain, Experts inquired about the definition of a refugee or asylum seeker, the legal framework for stateless persons, refugees and asylum seekers, and also inform on access to medical treatment for those living with HIV/AIDS.

Bahrain imposed travel bans on certain persons, Experts said, asking for further information on the number of bans issued in the last five years and the legal basis for travel ban; how those were these necessary to protect security and public order; and the detailed reasons for which a person would be prohibited from leaving the country.  Continued discrimination against the Shia population remained an important area of concern – what was being done to fight this discrimination in law and in practice and in particular when it came to the right of assembly.

Concerned about the extreme restrictions to the right to freedom of expression –offending the King, criticizing the royal family or expressing any negative reference to the State or the flag was prohibited – Experts decried the imprisonment of persons participating in demonstrations or other gatherings, and the imprisonment of, and violence against, those individuals who communicated acts of torture.

Replies by the Delegation

With regards to the lifting of the reservations to the Covenant, a delegate said that the Constitution of Bahrain provided for equality between men and women under the principle of Sharia and said that more time was needed to decide on the issue.  A Supreme Committee had been established to follow up on the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry and the State has applied all of the Committee’s recommendations in this aspect.

No one was sentenced to the death penalty because of their political activity, reaffirmed the delegation.

Medical abortion was permitted by the law, to safeguard the life of the woman.  There is six months’ imprisonment and a fine for those who had an illegal abortion, while a doctor could be imprisoned for carrying out an abortion, particularly if it caused death.  Permission for abortion was issued upon a recommendation by a doctor, on a case-by-case basis.

In reference to citizenship for children of Bahraini women, the delegate stated that there was a provision for equality in the law and said that the Ministry of Interior closely followed those cases.

The Bahraini law guaranteed the right to express opinion in written or spoken form as long as it did not harm the law or Islam.  The right to public assembly was guaranteed according to circumstances in the law but was not an absolute, as gatherings must keep with the legislative system and the purpose must be peaceful and in line with good morals.

The State granted political refugees full care.  The law on migration and residence regulated and dealt with issues concerning foreign nationals, who could enter the State provided they had valid papers or visas.  From their arrival to their departure, foreign nationals enjoyed full rights, which was why the State did not reference refugees in the report.
 
Citizens were not deprived of nationality in an arbitrary fashion and all such cases were carefully regulated by the law - there were legal safeguards in place and nationality was defined by law so it could not be stripped unless for reasons of high treason or other reasons stipulated by law.

Responding to questions raised on the use of force and firearms, the delegation said the Constitution provided for the use of force in the case of assemblies and arrest but only in very specific cases in order to safeguard the lives of individuals.  Law enforcement agents could only result to force if it was absolutely necessary and as a last resort.  This was limited to extreme cases of need as stipulated in the law and the Penal Code.  The Special Unit of Inquiry established under the public prosecution service in 2008 carried out investigations on reprehensible acts by public law officials and established the criminal responsibility of those who had infringed the law.  In 2011-2013, the Ministry of Interior held training workshops and courses with 823 police officers that attended.

Pre-trial detention was regulated by the Penal Code, said a delegate, noting that pre-trial detainees were held separately from convicted individuals.  They had the right to contact the family and a lawyer, as well as the embassy in case of foreigners.  The Ministry of Interior was dedicated to upholding international standards as far as legal safeguards were concerned.

The Ministry provided medical and psychological care for prisoners and placed great importance on healthcare.  Prison staff were trained by specialists and the State provided relevant medicine and medical tests to prisoners, while those with chronic illnesses had a specialized unit set aside for them.  There were also tools and a framework to help prisoners with disabilities as well as prisoners with drug issues.
 
Minors were held in juvenile detention centres, there was a centre for the protection and care of children including those who suffered physical or mental harm, and a building allocated for minors aged 15 to 19 with specialized services, including education.

Bahrain organized courses and workshops to raise awareness of public officials on trafficking in persons.  Victims were made aware of their rights, provided with rehabilitation resources and the opportunity of receiving housing.  Shelters, which were available for victims of trafficking, provided legal assistance as well as protection when necessary.  Trafficking victims were decriminalized and helped to remain in Bahrain and find work.  The National Committee to Combat Trafficking had been re-established in 2017, and a code of conduct and guidelines on dealing with victims of trafficking adopted.  Officials were trained in victim identification, conduct of interviews, and general treatment.  A guide to combat trafficking persons had been released according to international standards.  Victims received monthly financial payments until their situation was settled so they could live in dignity.

As for the questions asked about the judicial independence, the delegation explained that judges worked on temporary contracts and complied with all conditions of independence.  The contracts were concluded once the appointment was issued by the King, therefore the terms of the contract did not conflict with the independence of the judge.  The contract only guaranteed their entitlements and salaries.

Anyone who was a subject of a travel ban had the right to appeal the decision and the legal basis of the ban.  Public prosecutors were authorized to prevent suspects or accused from travelling.

There was accountability for all crimes committed, insisted the delegation, noting that the Special Investigations Unit had referred more than 120 police officers to criminal courts, who had either received criminal sanctions including up to seven-year sentence, while others had been referred to disciplinary courts.  Some of the officers in question had been responsible for certain events which occurred in 2011.

The law allowed foreign media corporations to work in Bahrain after receiving authorization from the Ministry, and there was a fine for those who worked without authorization.  At some events, there might be more than 300 foreign correspondents and media outlets.  The delegation said that the Al Wasat newspaper had been closed down in 2017 because of “serious abuses and legal violations”.  The media outlet had violated the authorization as a newspaper and had contravened the rule of publishing false news, which incited hatred and sectarian strife.  It had also spread lies about certain prominent figures.  The newspaper had the right to challenge this decision before the court, however, this has not happened since the decision had been taken.

The national human rights institution had a separate budget which guaranteed its independence, said the delegation, noting that its members could not be held accountable for any criticism of the Government.  They were provided legal protection and discharged their functions without interference.  The national human rights institution was well respected, it provided legal consultancies to many ministries and contributed to amending a number of human rights-related laws, and it contributed to preparing shadow reports and best practices regarding human rights.

The complaints and accusation of discrimination on the basis of religion were groundless. Bahrain was an open, multiracial and multi-religious society in which all religions enjoyed full freedoms, respect and legal support.

The Constitution preserved life and viewed the right to life as sacred.  The National Charter of Action showed the Bahrain’s commitment to the right to life in accordance to the Covenant.  The right to life was also a part of the State’s national legislation, said a delegate, adding that the non-ratification of the Optional Protocol did not mean the absence of the commitment to uphold this right.

Follow-up Questions and Answers

In their follow-up questions, Committee Experts inquired about Bahrain’s military operations in Yemen, in the context of the right to life, and whether there had been any trials for homosexuality and whether a show of affection between people of the same sex would qualify as a criminal act.  Experts insisted that the Committee only used official sources and reiterated that the information it possessed came from reliable sources.

Responding, the delegation said that the minutes of the trial in relation to the closure of the Al Wasat newspaper were public, and reiterated that the newspaper had committed serious violations that could fuel divisions and increase hatred throughout society.  They had also published fabricated news and articles that were described as racial.  The press in Bahrain was independent and the State applied the law equally to all media outlets in the country.  Although it had an option to appeal the court decision, Al Wasat had decided to dissolve as it knew that its legal position was weak.

Bahrain’s participation in the coalition in Yemen was defensive and not aggressive, stressed a delegate.  The State provided assistance to the Yemeni people and the military operation’s aim was to save their lives.  Many emergency and relief centres had been set up to provide assistance and all operations were carried out under the rules and norms of international law and human rights law.

As for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, the delegation said that any acts that took place in public must not offend public decency laws or go against Islamic Sharia.

Everyone, be they Bahrain’s friend or foe, recognized the freedom of belief and religion, a delegate added, noting that many non-credible sources tainted the State’s achievements and reputation as a human rights pioneer in the Middle East.  Many such so-called human rights and advocacy organizations had hidden agendas, because of their radical and extremist tendencies, or for political purposes.  More efforts must be put in the verification and due process for those organizations so that the human rights agenda in Bahrain would not be hampered.

The Kingdom of Bahrain welcomed refugees, as evidenced by the hospitality extended to the Syrians, who, however, were not called refugees but guests.  They enjoyed equal access to health and education as citizens, said a delegate, explaining that such is the situation in other Gulf countries which hosted Syrian citizens and citizens from other countries in the region affected by conflict.

Concluding Remarks

ABDULLA BIN FAISAL ALDOSERI, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bahrain, in his concluding remarks, said that Bahrain was on a very clear journey towards the Vision 2030, a vision of the future based on the principle of justice, equity and achieving the highest level of development, in freedom, democracy and human rights.  Its foreign policy was moderate, balanced and sufficient, and it supported the issues of interest to the Arab world, based on the principle of tolerance, respect and peaceful coexistence.  Bahrain reinforced dialogue between different religions and would continue to work with the international community in fighting the threat of terrorism.  Thanking the Committee for the constructive discussion, Mr. Aldoseri stressed that credibility was an essential pillar of this dialogue, through non-politicization for purposes of some illegitimate groups.

AHMED AMIN FATHALLA, Committee Vice-Chairperson, concluded by reminding that the dialogue with Bahrain was a beginning of a process, in a continuing effort to promote and protect human rights.  Without the culture of human rights in a society, the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights could not be implemented, stressed the Chair, and urged Bahrain to pay due attention to the implementation - and the monitoring of implementation - of its laws.


For use of the information media; not an official record

CCPR/18/14E