London, 25 April 2017: A lecture entitled “The Constitutional Framework of the Kingdom of Bahrain: Reforms and Challenges Since 2001” was held in the House of Parliament at Westminster on Monday, 24 April 2017. The event was sponsored by Conor Burns, MP, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Bahrain, in partnership with the Bahrain Institute for Political Development (BIPD).
It was presented by Mr. Ahmed Mehdi Al Haddad, Ms. Hala Geraisa both members of the Shura Council and a board member of BIPD, Dr. Khalifa Al Fadhel.
The speakers shed light on Bahrain’s National Action Charter (NAC) which paved the way to the 2002 constitution and its amendments, and the Kingdom’s move towards a constitutional monarchy based on the principles of democracy, equality, rights, and obligations. They also added that the national action charter reflected the shared visions of His Majesty and the people of Bahrain. The NAC referendum passed overwhelmingly with 98.4%, and is in line with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights, the UN Declaration on Social and Cultural Rights, and the Kingdom’s treaty obligations with regards to the rights of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities.
According to Dr. Al Fadhel, developing democracy in Bahrain reflects substantial procedural elements and aligns Bahrain’s Constitutional system with the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. “Bahrain has an instrumental right to democracy, where democracy is used to achieve further Human Rights,” Al Fadhel added.
Ms. Hala Geraisa addressed issues of the rights of women and minorities in her presentation and shared the following statistics of interest:
- The 9 women elected to serve in Parliament represents a high total compared to other governing bodies in the region, as well as in a global context.
- As of 2016 Bahraini women made up 51% of the workforce in the public sector and 33% in the private sector
- Female graduates from public higher education institutions number 58%, while those from private institutions make up 49%.
The lecture concluded with a review of the ongoing challenges Bahrain continues to face on the political, security, and economic fronts in pursuits of its goals. Mr. Al Haddad noted that meeting with interested parties in Parliament to discuss democratic and constitutional developments in Bahrain “will enhance and strengthen the existing friendly relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United Kingdom.”
The event was under the patronage of HE Sh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain in the United Kingdom, and received a firm commitment from the board of the Bahrain Institute for Political Development to convey the path Bahrain has charted in its constitution and reforms under His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.