Bahrain sets high legal standards by using restorative justice with children

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Manama, Aug. 18 (BNA): The Law on Restorative Justice for Children and Their Protection from Maltreatment took effect today, six months after its issuance and the completion of the legislative, technical and procedural requirements for its implementation, marking an outstanding milestone in the justice system and the protection of children’s rights in the Kingdom of Bahrain.


The law represents a culmination of Bahrain’s leadership and excellence in upholding public rights and freedoms under the wise and humanitarian approach of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.


A new success story in the human rights and development process under the leadership of HM the King and the support of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, the law is the fruitful outcome of a civilized intellectual vision that crowns the Kingdom’s legislative and institutional efforts to care for children and respect their rights in the present and the future, in accordance with the best international standards.


It also reflects the close cooperation between the executive and legislative branches, the Supreme Judicial Council, the Public Prosecution, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United Kingdom, civil society and the National Institution for Human Rights.


The Restorative Justice Law uses restorative processes and seeks to achieve restorative outcomes that promote the child’s rehabilitation and reintegration, as promoted by the UN.


It is a qualitative addition to modern criminal legislation that gives the child’s best interests priority in all judgments, decisions and procedures, regardless of the party that issues them or practices them.


It also provides firm guarantees to protect children’s rights, shields them from maltreatment, exploitation, or moral and physical neglect and affords them physical, emotional, health, educational, educational and social care, in accordance with international human rights, especially the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, that the Kingdom acceded in 1991, and its two optional protocols, in 2004.


The Attorney-General has stressed that the law stipulates raising the criminal responsibility age to 18, involving children in national rehabilitation and educational programs and subjecting them to measures aimed at reforming their conduct and reintegrating them into their families and society.


The law also approves the special treatment of delinquent children aged between 15 and 18, while ensuring their rights to privacy, to be heard, to have their demands understood, to have access to legal and judicial assistance and legal representation, as well as to health and social assistance.


The law also regulates the aspects of cooperation and coordination between the authorities and the concerned parties, and relies on the studies of specialized experts, to ensure that verdicts and orders related to children are based on a comprehensive and clear vision of their social, health and psychological conditions, the Attorney-General also said.


By implementing the Children’s Restorative Justice Law, Bahrain, under the leadership of HM the King and the support of His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince and the Prime Minister, affirms its commitment to modernizing its legislative and judicial system and enhancing its pioneering achievements in respecting human rights, child care and the consolidation of the rule of law and constitutional institutions.


The Kingdom also consolidates its global status through its active membership in the Human Rights Council and the International Committee on the Rights of the Child, amid UN praise for its honorable record in the areas of comprehensive and sustainable development.