Foreign Ministry launches workshop on rule of law and rights protection

 Manama: Under the generous patronage of Lieutenant General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, Minister of Interior, and Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today launched the third workshop entitled: (Rule of Law and Preservation of Rights in the Administration of the Justice System)

The virtual launch took place with the participation of Chancellor Abdulla bin Hassan Al-Buainain, Head of Court of Cassation, Deputy President of Supreme Judicial Council, Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa, Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments, Dr. Ali bin Fadhel Al-Buainain, the Attorney General, and Abdullah bin Faisal bin Jabr Al-Dossari, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, and a group of lawyers and jurists.

Also present were a number of Shura and Representatives Councils; members, Ruwaida Al-Hajj, Regional Representative of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa, and Judge Hatem Ali, Special Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Executive Director of the Gulf Cooperation Council And a number of press and media men.

In the opening session, Lieutenant General Shaikh Rashid affirmed that the workshop organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs emanates from the vision of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa which was crystallized in the National Action Charter that came to solidify all our rights, shape the social, economic, political and human life, and reinforce the concept of the rule of law and respect for human rights, and to renew the renaissance discourse on foundations of freedom, tolerance, human brotherhood, community coexistence and respect for others.

During his speech, the Minister of Interior also indicated the importance of the issue and its close link with the work strategy of the Ministry of Interior, which enshrined the rule of law in the conduct of its affiliates, and the respect surrounded for human rights with many guarantees to protect its affiliates from any violation.

He reviewed in his speech, two axes, the first about the Ministry of Interior And its policy of providing capabilities and defining procedures to ensure best practice in strengthening the rule of law and respect for human rights, explaining in this regard that we the Ministry of Interior has worked to strengthen the rule of law and respect for human rights, inspired by the directives of His Majesty on the need to establish security and protect public order.

He noted that law enforcement guarantees the preservation of rights and the provision of an umbrella to manage the justice system in a way that guarantees combating crime, pointing out that the crime rate has decreased today to the level it was in 2009, despite the high number of reports and the bigger population.

The Interior Minister added that in order to be alert to new and emerging threats from technology such as cybercrime, the ministry has prepared strategies for the future capable of keeping pace with the challenges, including the adoption of the concept of smart police and expansion of the use of artificial intelligence applications.

He noted that the Royal Police Academy has organized many workshops, specialized programs and training courses in the field of human rights, including the explanation of international human rights law and the treaties signed by the Kingdom of Bahrain, as well as the practical application of criminal law and the role of the police in maintaining security.

He clarified that the Academy has developed postgraduate programs, namely the Human Rights Diploma Program, the Diploma on Reform and Rehabilitation Institutions, and the Social Service Diploma in Security Institutions, all of which contribute to strengthening the culture of human rights and focusing on constitutional and legal guarantees.

He also referred to the adoption of several recent initiatives, projects and programs in the field of crime prevention, such as developing the roles of the community service police, activating the governorate system, expanding its security and community role, launching the national plan to promote national belonging and consolidating the values of citizenship.
This is with the aim of strengthening national belonging, expanding the base of security culture and protecting young people from the impact of violence and extremism through the “Ma’an” program to combat violence and addiction, as well as the issuance of “Watani”, a magazine aimed at children, in addition to the creation of advanced programs in the implementation of the alternative penal code.

In the second axis, which deals with how to determine the focal point and balance between the rule of law and its enforcement on the one hand and respect for human rights on the other hand, the Interior Minister said the Kingdom of Bahrain has achieved an advanced position in the field of the rule of law and respect for human rights, and shall continue, God willing, to work to improve the human rights system in compliance with the agreements and international treaties it had signed.

He said the rule of law is the foundation upon which everything is based, as true citizenship is expressed by every citizen through his respect for the law, and on which they base their behavior and behavior.

This, he said, would pour into the lofty principles and the noble goals of the reform project of His Majesty the King, which are based on strengthening the rule of law in order to achieve justice, equality, transparency and accountability for all state institutions and individuals, stressing that no administration can pursue its reform process and raise its level of performance and efficiency without adopting this approach.

“If we want to strengthen the rule of law and preserve rights in the administration of the justice system, it is imperative to focus on the well-established principles and constants, with the rule of law as its focus and human rights as its goal.”

He reviewed these foundations, explaining that the sought features of police work are those based on mutual trust between the security men and the citizens, so as the citizens themselves would reinforce the rule of law that ought to be executed in total equity and justice to create transparency, accountability and responsible authority.

The Minister of Interior affirmed that the judiciary is the main pillar in establishing justice, protecting rights and preserving freedoms, which strengthens confidence in the state’s authorities and its institutions by applying the rule of law and reassuring people that their rights are safeguarded.

He noted that the commitment to the values that have defined this country since its inception, which distinguished the people of Bahrain and solidified its identity, are the values of peace, moderation, moderation, equality, freedom, solidarity and acceptance of others, and this authentic Bahraini heritage, shall be preserved and passed on to future generations, God willing.

The Minister of Interior concluded his speech by noting that there is no disagreement over the importance of the media’s role in promoting a culture of human rights through the transmission of accurate information, stressing that the matter requires keeping up with the national media to the challenges and addressing the systematic targeting by some foreign organizations and media, which in recent years have deliberately changed the facts and distorted true image to affect the internal security and stability in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

In his speech, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, affirmed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ keenness to strengthen its partnership with all concerned law enforcement agencies to enhance the position of the Kingdom of Bahrain regionally and internationally in the field of human rights by highlighting its continuous achievements in the field of protecting human rights and enhancing gains for the Bahraini citizen in a manner that preserves his dignity and rights.

At the forefront of these achievements, he added is the many principles and texts contained in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain to promote human rights and freedoms, and the establishment of national bodies and committees to be active in the field of human rights, in addition to developing the system of national laws, including the penal code and alternative measures, which was considered a precedent in legal regulation at the Arab and international levels.

He noted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeks to enhance the role of human rights diplomacy in achieving the foreign policy of the Kingdom of Bahrain based on the principle of strengthening cooperation frameworks between the official and civil sectors in the field of human rights and exchanging experiences and benefiting from the knowledge and practical experiences of institutions, in a way that would enhance the human rights position of the Kingdom of Bahrain At the global level.

“ This comes out of belief in the importance of societal partnership and solidarity between the various components of Bahraini society in conveying the ideal picture of the reality of human rights in the Kingdom of Bahrain and their human rights vision for all international community.

Dr. Zayani added that: “ we are pleased at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to put forward a framework for cooperation with the Bahrain Jurists Association, which is one of the most prominent civil rights institutions in the Kingdom of Bahrain, indicating that this framework includes effective practical steps in strengthening official links with prominent national human rights institutions such as the Bahrain Bar Association, as these proposals include strengthening institutional cooperation in various training, academic, research and cultural aspects, in order to advance the human rights diplomacy of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and strive to make the Kingdom a leading civilized interface in human rights diplomacy at the international level.

“This desired cooperation will have a great impact on its success and stabilization in the long view, he said noting that the Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa Academy for Diplomatic Studies will continue the implementation of this initiative.

Chancellor Abdulla bin Hassan Al-Buainain Head of Court of Cassation, Deputy President of Supreme Judicial Council, said:

based on the principles of justice and human rights that have been adopted by international conventions and many modern legislations in contemporary countries to protect freedoms and preserve human dignity, states have been keen on consolidating these principles to build all the state’s authorities and bodies, and at the forefront comes the judicial authority as the authority that preserves each individual’s rights and freedoms and preserves his dignity. the principle of the independence of the judiciary is one of the important and vital principles that relate to human rights, including right to litigation and right to ensure a fair trial.

The Kingdom of Bahrain has adopted these principles and standards to establish its legislation, so the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain issued in the year 2002 affirmed the honor of the judiciary, and the integrity and fairness of the judges. Ensuring the right to litigation, the National Action Charter indicated on the issue of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary that the rule of law is the basis of governance in the state, and the independence and immunity of the judiciary are two basic guarantees for the protection of rights and freedoms.

A special law was issued for the judicial authority, which included in its body all the principles that affirm its main role in achieving integrity and preserving rights, and the issuance of procedural laws in civil, criminal or legal cases that translated many principles that preserve the right to a fair trial for the litigant and his right to justice and fairness in accordance with the constitution and international charters. The judicial protection of human rights is evident through the judicial authority extending its control over national legislation and the actions of the executive authority, because if the principle of the rule of law requires that all, including state agencies, abide by the laws issued by the competent authority as a basis for the legitimacy of this authority’s actions.

This does not happen without legitimate and binding monitoring tools in constitutional systems, the most important of which is oversight exercised by the judicial authority.

Because the rule of law presupposes that this judicial authority assumes the task of overseeing the compatibility of these legislations with the constitution on the one hand, and the extent to which the actions of the executive authority are in agreement with the legislation and the constitution on the other hand, the judicial oversight undertaken by the courts of different types and degrees shall decide on disputes brought before it between individuals or between individuals and the administration and the consecration of the principle of the rule of law through this in order to preserve and protect rights.

The establishment of effective judicial oversight must be based on essential elements that include ensuring recourse to the judiciary, the right to litigation, the independence of the judiciary, and equality before the law.

The values of the people of the Kingdom of Bahrain constitute, in fact, a great basis in the field of human rights, as human rights as legal rules are not applied in a vacuum, but rather stem from the culture of people and their customs, which form a framework and the context of their actions and freedoms.

Public opinion or community awareness is the primary guardian of rights and freedoms in any country, as well as the existence of effective internal mechanisms in every country, such as grievance mechanisms or self-monitoring and governance, as well as primarily an independent, impartial and fair judiciary capable of fulfilling and protecting these rights. Its provisions shall be respected by being implemented according to what is stated.

The judiciary is at the heart of the principle of the rule of law, and the principle of access to justice and access to the judiciary is achieved when the practice and legislation allow everyone without discrimination to resort to the judiciary in everything that affects the freedoms or rights of individuals, as well as b permits some actions to be the subject of judicial review and a decision to approve them or abolish them.
It is important in the principle of access to justice that there are judicial services in support of the judicial system in order to enable people and entities to resort to the judiciary, and therefore the Ministry of Justice in this context is specifically in full coordination with the Supreme Judicial Council and the Public Prosecution with regard to the administrative measures that require certain decisions by the administration.

Training is a fundamental issue in forming a common understanding among all workers in the field of justice, and there is elementary and continuous training, whether for judges, members of the public prosecution, lawyers or law enforcement personnel, and the Institute for Judicial Studies has become the legal institution that takes care of all workers, at a time when practice has shown that holding consultative seminars leads to finding better application of legislation in the field of justice.

It is important that there will be constructive dialogue between many bodies, whether it is the Supreme Judicial Council, the Public Prosecution or the legislative authority with its two chambers or the Lawyers or law enforcement officials.

We also found that cooperation with Bar Society as well as the Young Lawyers had a greatest impact in encouraging the administrative authorities to develop electronic work that serves the judiciary. The role of the Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments as part of the executive authority is to serve the right to access justice and provide resources.

Also appreciated is the role of the legislative authority, which has spared no effort to develop the necessary legislation to develop work before the courts and to activate the principles of human rights.

The Attorney General, Dr. Ali bin Fadel Al-Buainain, valued the efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to monitor and evaluate what the Kingdom of Bahrain has made at the legislative and institutional level in the field of human rights, noting that the practical steps taken by the Kingdom of Bahrain in the field of human rights are in fact a product of belief in the necessity of providing protection for the individual’s personal rights in light of the practices of authority in all sectors and fields.

He said: The Public Prosecution was keen to coordinate and cooperate with other agencies and institutions in order to achieve the protection of human rights and provide the information and clarifications required to enable legal practices that are consistent with constitutional principles and international standards in a way that contributes to improving the position of the Kingdom of Bahrain in the field of rights human.

On the national plan for human rights and international standards, the Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah bin Faisal bin Jabr Al-Dossari, made a presentation in which he said: Respecting human rights and citizens’ political, civil, economic, cultural and social freedoms, and preserving their dignity constitutes a fundamental pillar in establishing the state of law, justice and coexistence.

The Kingdom of Bahrain has made pioneering achievements since the inauguration of the National Action Charter in 2001 by establishing responsible democratic work under the constitutional monarchy and ensuring equal opportunities for all citizens without discrimination based on gender, origin, religion or creed.

Talking about the basic foundations of the Kingdom in the field of human rights, such as the National Action Charter, the Constitution, national laws and legislation and others, and the specific national plans and strategies related to human rights in the Kingdom of Bahrain, including the stages of the National Human Rights Plan, he affirmed the Kingdom of Bahrain’s keenness to prepare the national plan for human rights in cooperation and coordination with all partners and stakeholders.

The Special Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Executive Director for the Gulf Cooperation Council region Judge Hatem Ali reviewed the United Nations standards and rules in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice, stressing the strong and close partnership between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the relevant United Nations office on drugs and crime in order to develop the criminal work system at the internal and external levels.

He said: The United Nations considers the challenge of protecting rights and freedoms when practicing criminal justice in particular and sees that states should provide all peoples and institutions with the right to resort to justice in which a fair, independent and equitable judiciary is to consider cases in accordance with a legal framework consistent with international standards and principles of human rights.

The Kingdom of Bahrain is a clear example of this, as it is a country with long-standing legal institutions and has a successful internal system to protect rights and freedoms. Its laws in the field of applying alternative punishment and the human rights are laudable.

During the second session, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United Kingdom, Shaikh Fawaz bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, in his intervention on human rights diplomacy, reviewed the efforts of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United Kingdom in the field of human rights and said: The embassy was keen to convey correct information to all interested parties and to highlight the achievements of the Kingdom of Bahrain and its pioneering role in the field of human rights.

This is in addition to strengthening relations with Bahrain’s friends in government and parliamentary bodies, working to win new friends for the Kingdom in the British Parliament, and enhancing communication between human rights bodies in the Kingdom of Bahrain and their counterparts in the United Kingdom.

The embassy responds to all inquiries that come to it, whether from parliamentarians or the press, and coordinates with the relevant authorities in the Kingdom of Bahrain to obtain official information, and provides the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Development with copies of the responses and supply it with additional information if needed.
The embassy is keen to ensure that the letters are supported by evidence, based on national laws, and in line with international rules and standards, so that the embassy’s responses have become a reliable source and reference for the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Development on its official websites.

Huda Daham Jawhar Al-Daham, Head of Studies and Research Department at the Institute of Judicial and Legal Studies, noted that the topic of human rights has a concern and priority in the Kingdom of Bahrain and added: The Kingdom itself is based on respecting the principles of the international system, especially those principles related to human rights that are considered at the same time an essential reference for the reform approach documents.

Based on the growing role of constitutional and legal affairs in the state of institutions and law, the role of the Institute for Judicial and Legal Studies, which represents an important and supportive knowledge experience in the development of the justice system, is considered a comprehensive institutional training umbrella for national judicial and legal cadres.

The institute has established its available efforts by proposing many of the programs related to the protection of human rights principles and public freedoms in order to support national cadres in this field.
Lawyer Joe Allman, former justice advisor for the United Kingdom in the Kingdom of Bahrain, spoke about his practical experience as a lawyer in the United Kingdom in the field of combating terrorism and preserving rights and freedoms, stressing the importance of ensuring the rule of law even in the face of political power, and that international agreements and treaties have become integral parts in many countries of the world of the law and the judiciary.

He explained a number of models of the independence of the judiciary in the United Kingdom as well as the controls of the trial there, praising the close cooperation between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United Kingdom and the efforts and achievements of the Kingdom of Bahrain in the field of trafficking in persons and combating drug trafficking and its keenness to follow all binding international laws.

During the third session, Head of Public Prosecution, Fahd Khaled Al-Buainain talked about legal guarantees from a human rights perspective and confirmed that the Public Prosecution undertakes its judicial role in the field of human rights, within the framework of its jurisdiction in the criminal case, in application of a set of national criminal legislation that are in conformity with international standards.

He presented a summary of the tasks carried out by the Public Prosecution Office and some of its applications of the procedures it takes in investigating a number of crimes, the parties to the criminal case and the actions of what falls within its competence related to human rights, indicating the aspects of the independence of the Public Prosecution guaranteeing its observance of rights in the framework of the criminal case.

He pointed out that the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain stipulates the separation of powers, including judges and members of the Public Prosecution office, and imposes judicial immunity for them as two basic guarantees for the protection of rights and freedoms, and that the Public Prosecution enjoys independence and freedom.

He clarified the procedures and guarantees for the protection of children, juveniles, and trafficking in persons, as the Public Prosecution pays special attention to such matters line with national legislations and international conventions mainly UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Counselor Mohammed Ahmed Al-Mehza, a member of the Legislation and Legal Opinion Authority, explained that the Kingdom of Bahrain has not deviated from its international obligations in general and its human rights obligations in particular, as the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain is in line with international treaties, chief among which is the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

He said: The Kingdom of Bahrain is part of the global entity, and that treaties are the legislative instrument on the international scale, create obligations and grant rights that must be adhered to, and the correct approach followed by the Kingdom of Bahrain since ancient times and during the prosperous era of His Majesty, based on the culture of peace and the rule of law as a basis to build a modern state in which human rights are respected, and where the principles of citizenship, justice and equality are fulfilled.

It was imperative for the Bahraini legislator to research and commit to the compatibility of national laws with international obligations established under the international treaties concluded by the Kingdom of Bahrain. The international system is expanding its scope of application day after day, which leads to the conclusion of new treaties, and these treaties were within the legislative fabric of the state and had the force of law, and among the legislative controls for the legislator was his observance of the legal legitimacy of the legislation and not its contradiction with a higher rule or its implicit cancellation of existing legislation.

The Bahraini legislator always has treaties in mind during the preparation and review of national legislation to bring them in line, as treaties have the force of law. On human rights in Bahraini law, Lawyer Hassan Ahmed Betawi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bahrain Bar Association, indicated that since His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, took over the reins of power, and His Majesty launched the reform approach translating it in the constitutional amendments of 2002, the Kingdom of Bahrain moved to the ranks of the leading countries in promoting rights and freedoms in particular.

The constitution mentioned in its articles the most important principles that promote those rights, such as equality and non-discrimination between citizens or residents, and guaranteeing freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of the press, affiliation, religious freedoms and rights, women’s rights and freedoms.

He reviewed a number of articles of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the advanced national laws that aim to protect and promote human rights, especially in the administration of the justice system, interrogation and investigation stages, through the public prosecution and fair trial before the judiciary.
He stressed that the issuance of many legislations, especially those issued in the recent period, have strengthened the name and the status of the Kingdom of Bahrain, which was originally the subject of praise and appreciation at the local and international levels, especially those concerned with combating terrorism, violence, money laundering, fighting corruption, protecting the family, and applying the penal code and alternative measures.

As to Ambassador Muhammad Abdulrahman Al-Hadean, Director of the Legal Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he praised the pioneering role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its efforts to enhance the position of the Kingdom of Bahrain on the world map in the field of human rights.

He noted that the national plan is a continuation of the sound approach adopted by the Kingdom of Bahrain to promote human rights under the reform approach of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

He pointed out that the Kingdom of Bahrain has taken some serious steps in order to enhance the culture of international humanitarian law among a large number of groups in the Kingdom at the academic level, the authorities, experts, public employees, judicial authority men, security and military forces, as well as spreading awareness among the public.

He explained that the national legislation of the Kingdom of Bahrain, on top of which is the Constitution, and the National Action Charter, included the most important principles of human rights founding international charters and treaties, in a manner that preserves all the basic rights and freedoms for citizens and residents on this land.

In the fourth session, Ghassan Horkheimer, a lawyer and former member of the House of Representatives of the Lebanese Republic, reviewed, through his paper, the national plan for human rights in Lebanon, and the mechanisms that the House of Representatives followed in developing the national plan, as the parliament committed itself to looking at the national plan to be stemming from personal experience and does not reproduce other experiences, taking into account international standards.

He referred to the involvement of many stakeholders in developing the plan through working groups that included representatives of the legislative, executive and judicial authorities, civil society organizations, independent experts and representatives of international bodies such as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, where each working group followed up on a specific topic, and its role focused on a realistic reading of the extent of violations Human rights laws and the need for new laws, to correct practices, and raise the level of societal knowledge of these rights and freedoms.

Mr. Muhammad Khalid Al-Hazaa, Head of Public Prosecution at the Special Investigation Unit, indicated that the Kingdom of Bahrain has, during the past decade, intensified national efforts to eliminate all forms of torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, by establishing impartial and independent human rights and judicial oversight mechanisms.

To protect and promote human rights in the criminal justice system, including the Office of the Ombudsman, the Office of the Inspector General of the National Intelligence Service, the Prisoners and Detainee Rights Commission, the National Institution for Human Rights, the Special Investigation Unit, and the Higher Coordination Committee for Human Rights.

On the pleadings system in the courts, Ibtisam Al-Sabbagh, a lawyer from the Bahrain Bar Association, referred to the pleading system in light of technological development, and the amendments of some provisions of the Civil and Commercial Procedures Law, which aimed to develop a case management system by introducing a system for filing, managing and adjudicating some cases by electronic means, according to certain controls, based on the decisions and regulations related to this matter, due to the provided speed and flexibility.

It should be noted that this workshop comes as part of a series of workshops concerned with preparing the National Human Rights Plan that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs intends to organize during the period from August to November 2020. These workshops are held in cooperation and coordination with a number of concerned parties and specialists with the aim of involving all concerned parties to benefit from their opinions, views, experiences, and bright ideas in preparing the National Human Rights Action Plan.


Source: Bahrain News Agency