Compensation fund structure, process highlighted

January 27, 2012

Bahrain on Thursday highlighted the structure and process of the compensation fund that will assist people who can show they have been affected morally or physically during the unrest.

Under a decree issued by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa, the National Fund for the Compensation of Victims set up in September under the authority of the Human Rights Ministry, will have a five member committee. Two members will be judges and the other three people must be known for their independence, objectivity, competence and honesty.

However, two of them must be from civil society organizations, the 15-point decree stipulated. Requests for compensation can be presented individually or collectively. The upper chamber this week approved the decree to assist those harmed during last year’s unrest by establishing a national compensation fund in accordance with international guidelines on victims’ rights of redress.

The proposal covers members of the public security forces and public officers who suffered any form of material, moral or physical damage during the exercise of their duties and any person who suffered material, moral or physical damage because of the incidents or for intervening to assist victims in distress or to prevent their victimisation.

Compensation is extended to the victims and to their relatives up to the fourth degree or their dependents, the decree said. No other groups or individuals may request compensation from the fund.

The fund will have an independent budget and its financial resources will be from the special allocations within the state budget, the amounts received from those who caused damages, assistance gifts and donations. Several people died or were injured during the events that hit Bahrain in February and March and after the lifting of the emergency laws in June.

Clashes between the police and demonstrators have rocked the country, particularly in December and January. The interior ministry on Thursday morning said that a protestor who took part in the clashes the night before in Sitra, the main sea town on the east coast, died at a local hospital.

On Wednesday, Bahrain Television showed pictures of the prime minister visiting a hospital to comfort a group of policemen who were wounded as violence flared up in the country.

Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa said that Bahrainis needed to address their differences and seek to reinforce togetherness and cohesion. “Violations of the law are unfortunately happening at a time when the nation needs solidarity and cohesion and the people should shun divisions,” Prince Khalifa said.

“Targeting people who are carrying out their security and stability duties within the confines of the law is a crime and a violation of law and does not represent a genuine wish for reforms,” he said.

Bahraini social media was awash with reports and pictures of policemen reportedly injured in attacks by protestors on Tuesday. For weeks, the country has witnessed clashes between protestors hurling rocks and petrol bombs and police firing tear gas to disperse crowds, usually in villages near Manama or in Sitra, the town that has been the focus of confrontations.

However, the increased level of violence this week is now putting extra pressure on parties who have said that they wanted an end to violence and who have been seeking a peaceful solution to the crisis that has gripped the nation.



About the author

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

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