Speech by Regional Representative of OHCHR in MENA, Roueida EL Hage
Excellency, Abdulla bin Faisal bin Jabur Al-Doseri, Assistant Foreign Minister, Kingdom of Bahrain
Mr. Mohamed El Zarkani, United Nations Resident Coordinator ai, and Chief of IOM Mission
Mr. Gianni Magazzeni, Chief, Universal Periodic Review Branch
Dr. Ebrahim Badawi, Legal Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Esteemed representatives of diplomatic corps, civil society and officials,colleagues,
- Since the Kingdom of Bahrain launched the process of elaborating the National Human Rights Action Plan inmid-2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has conducted important consultations and workshops with a varietyof partners and covering centralthemes, such as women’s rights, the role of media, the role of national institutions and civilsociety organizations in promoting and developing humanrights, the rule of law and the safeguard of rights in the administration of the justice among other themes. While the Government has had full ownership of the Action Plan, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has been actively engaged in cooperation with the Resident Coordinator and the United Nations Country Team in supporting the process.
- The development of theActionPlanis a high priority for the High Commissioner for Human Rights as it confirms State-led programmes with concrete steps in improving the promotion and protection of human rights with theintended actions and results. It is important to note that this is a process of continued and inclusive action by the Government to draft, endorse, implement and follow up on the implementation of a non-static and constantly evolving Action Plan.
- Bahrain’s commitment in that respect has been evident both by the speed with which the planning has moved forward, the versatility of the themes covered,and stakeholders included in the workshops. This has contributed to the relevance of the recommendations and as such, the impact of the consultation process as a whole. The process as it evolves, could further benefit from contributions that could be submitted by civil society through online platforms managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A luxury of the digital era that could be considered in using tools and modalities to broaden the scope of consultations.
- It is also very important to combine commitments foreseen under the Action Plan with those outlined in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), since both are State commitment toupholdhuman rights at the national and international level. Mr. Magazzeni will elaborate on how UPR is a true foundation for the elaboration of National Human Rights Action Plans. This is a bonus tool of combined recommendations under international human rights law that was not providedback in 1993 when Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action were adopted calling on Member States to initiate the Action Plans.
- Closing this series of consultations with a workshop on UPR is an excellent way to honour the spirit of upholdinginternational cooperation and compliance with IHRL
- I am happy to extend my congratulations to the Kingdom of Bahrain, and to His Excellency, Mr. Al-Doserion a successful round of consultations, and my assurances that OHCHR would continue to support Bahrain, in developing and implementing theAction Plan moving forward.
- I thank all the experts and colleagues for their valuable contributions and look forward for a fruitful outcome of the consultation.