King Hamad emphasizes BICI report significance, commitment to pluralism

December 16, 2011
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King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa on Friday reiterated his acceptance of a biting report by an international fact-finding commission, saying that its recommendations will be used to charter a better future for Bahrain.

“It gives us pleasure to reiterate that we welcome the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry that has generated good feelings among our people,” King Hamad said in an address to the nation on the 40th National Day and 12th Accession Day. “We also emphasize our commitment to implementing its recommendations. We thank our fellow Bahrainis who supported our decision and all the countries that welcomed it,” the monarch said at a special ceremony at the Sakhir Palace in the south of the island kingdom.

The government should cooperate with the National Commission on implementing the recommendations, he said.

“We have mentioned before that any government that is genuinely interested in reforms and progress must realize the significance and usefulness of objective and constructive criticism,” he said.

“We wish the National Commission tasked with the recommendations in the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry success in carrying out the assignments it had been given,” he said.

The National Commission was set up by King Hamad after the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), chaired by Egyptian-born US expert Cherif Bassiouni, recommended its establishment.

Its 19 members, an amalgam of lawmakers, jurists and NGO activists, have started monitoring the implementation of recommendations drafted by the BICI.

The sacking of employees, the suspension of students and the destruction of places of worship topped the agenda of their work, they said.

Al Wefaq, the main opposition society, has rejected the commission, saying that it would be toothless, prompting calls by several officials to do away with a negative policy of non-participation and assume a more active role in chartering new ways for the post-report country.

Al Wefaq in July boycotted the National Dialogue, a forum that brought together around 300 people representing political societies, the government, the parliament, the media, women’s rights groups, civil society formations and the trade union to discuss the future of the country following the deepening social rifts and political divisions resulting from the incidents that hit the country in February and March.

Al Wefaq said that it deserved a wider representation at the forum and a greater say in its themes and discussions.

However, King Hamad on Friday said that praised the work of the various dialogue groups.

“Today, we recall with pride, gratitude and tribute the national consensus on 291 views reached by those who represented the various segments of our Bahraini society. It was an enlightened landmark in the progress of our comprehensive national action that is taking our country towards wider horizons of more reforms and further development,” he said.

The king said that “Bahrain will remain a state of law and institutions and a country of freedom and tolerant coexistence between different religions, cultures and ideas.”

“Such openness will remain, God willing, the basic characteristic of our people and our institutions, and we will all endeavour to preserve it by ensuring pluralism in all areas of public life. We are confident that the next few days will reflect the true picture of the situation in our country,” he said.

In his address, King Hamad said that he had special greetings for “loyal citizens.”

“We have chosen this glorious day, as usual, to honour the loyal citizens who endeavored to preserve our national unity, stressed their adherence to the principle of legality and respect for the rule of law and deployed outstanding efforts for the sake of Bahrain and its advancement. We salute them on our National Holiday and we express our appreciation to them as the pioneers of patriotic action,” he said.

However, he added that his remained extended to “every Bahraini loyal to this beloved country and acting within the rule of law and order.”

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/king-hamad-emphasizes-commitment-to-pluralism-1.952236

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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