Human Rights victory for Bahrain


So, with the approval of Bahrain’s report by the UN Human Rights Council, at United Nations in Geneva this week, we can see that Bahrain has made significant progress in the desired direction. With this approval, Bahrain  should no longer be viewed by International media with doubt or distrust; but  should  in fact be viewed with respect and admiration.

Bahrain government’s vow to uphold human rights and work toward further reform, while noting that violent expressions of dissent would not be permitted, is definitely the right way to go.

My colleague P Unnikrishnan had the privilege of being in Geneva this week, on this momentous occasion. And from the interactions he has had with foreign delegates, he says, it is clear that this approval was a great victory for Bahrain; especially because in the last 19 months or so, the international media was unable to give a balanced view on Bahrain’s human rights’ situation to the global audience. This approval has made a much-needed forceful difference, in favour of Bahrain.

Unnikrishnan says that UK, China, Thailand, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were among the countries that openly applauded the progress of Bahrain, and were very vocal about their appreciation for Bahrain’s methods of tackling Human Rights issues.

This is, I believe, a great step forward for an island nation trying hard to put its best foot forward. Instead of playing on the back-foot, defending itself from half-truths and half-baked
allegations, it can now step up on its commitment; towards making the country progress further.

Sadly, thanks to the unwillingness of the international media to listen to the perspective of Bahrain’s government, against that of the protestors, most of the International coverage was lop-sided.

But this approval shows that Bahrain is willing to look at its own systems without prejudice. And that Bahrain is willing to accept recommendations that benefit the larger interests of its citizens.

I am particularly glad to see that in addition to adopting the Human Rights Council’s recommendations, Bahrain accepted proposals to allow a UN rapporteur to visit the country.

Is this not a clear indication of government’s willingness to allow foreign and independent bodies to come and assess ground reality on human rights in Bahrain? Is this not a clear signal to the
international bodies that this government is not afraid to open its doors to international scrutiny?

Therefore, as Minister of Foreign Affairs Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed  Al Khalifa had rightly expressed: this  approval of Bahrain’s report by the UN Human Rights Council affirms the international community’s support for the kingdom and its reform and development strategy.

No wonder then that we see a well-deserved pride when His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, while expressing his appreciation to the members of Bahrain’s delegation to the Periodic Universal Review session at the UN council, said : the report’s approval reflects Bahrain’s commitment to protect and respect human rights and dignity.