Committee: Elections are fair, transparent

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Manama, Nov. 8 (BNA): The Human Rights Committee at the Council of Representatives has asserted that the statement issued by US congressmen, James P. McGovern and Randy Hultgren, the members of the "Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission" at the US House of Representatives, included baseless and misleading information on Bahrain’s parliamentary elections.

Manama, Nov. 8 (BNA): The Human Rights Committee at the Council of Representatives has asserted that the statement issued by US congressmen, James P. McGovern and Randy Hultgren, the members of the "Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission" at the US House of Representatives, included baseless and misleading information on Bahrain’s parliamentary elections. 


The committee expressed its surprise over the statements of the two congressmen, noting that they are based on inaccurate information.


The panel called for the need to seek information from credible sources, stressing that the law that banned the affiliates of the dissolved associations as per a judicial ruling, had been issued by the Legislative Branch and not the Executive.


The committee also stressed the need not to prejudge the electoral process, as that would confirm the fallacy and deliberate abuse, contrary to all norms and standards in this regard, as well as to the very principles upon which any democratic process in civilised countries are based.


The committee pointed out that, in line with its keenness to clarify the facts, it affirms that the parliamentary and municipal elections, spearheaded by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa within his Reform Project, which was unanimously adopted by the Bahraini people through voting on the National Action Charter, have been and are still held according to international standards of freedom, fairness, independence and transparency.


The panel also stressed that political associations and any other civil society organisations are established and dissolved according to the law, adding that the violators are referred to the Judiciary where all legal guarantors are provided.


The committee added that the members of the dissolved associations had violated the regulation according to which they had been established, and therefore were dissolved after exhausting all litigation procedures and enjoying fair trials, according to international standards.


The Representatives Council’s Human Rights Committee also affirmed that some of the dissolved associations had been found guilty of receiving political and financial support from countries and entities that pose a threat to global security and peace, including Iran, Qatar and Hizbullah terrorist organisation, adding that they also worked in accordance with the Wilayat al-Faqih (mandate of the jurist), which is an obstacle to the establishment of a democratic society based on respect for human rights, pluralism, equality and the rule of law.


The committee affirmed that the elections in Bahrain are open to all citizens, provided that they are not prohibited by the law or sentenced in a criminal case, noting that the electoral process is a local affair and is subject to the supervision of the independent Judiciary of Bahrain and the monitoring of its civil society.


 It also emphasised that Bahrain’s elections are free and fair, in accordance with the National Action Charter, the principles of the Constitution, national legislation and relevant international instruments, affirming that all supervisory and oversight guarantees are provided to the electoral process by human rights and civil society organisations and according to objective regulations.


Regarding the prison sentences handed over to a number of affiliates of legally-dissolved political associations, the committee stressed that the judicial verdicts were issued for criminal offenses that were legally prohibited and had nothing to do with their political work or freedom of opinion and expression, noting that they were provided all legal guarantees and the trials were attended by the representatives of embassies, including those of the US Embassy itself.


The Human Rights Committee affirmed that civil and political rights are guaranteed for all in the Kingdom in accordance with the Constitution, noting that there is no difference between citizens, and that all are equal before the law. 


The Kingdom of Bahrain has no distinction between one citizen and another, as all are equal in rights and duties, the committee said, adding that electoral constituencies are divided according to the size of the electorate, citing the Northern Governorate which has the largest number of constituencies.


The Representatives Council’s Human Rights Committee concluded by affirming that such statements and stances will not affect the democratic process in Bahrain, but will increase the kingdom’s resolve and determination to move forward towards further progress and development for the sake of a prosperous future in a society that embraces all its members from various segments and affiliations under the rule of the state of law and institutions.







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BNA 1608 GMT 2018/11/08