Bahrain’s Emir Invites Visit by Top UN Human Rights Official
Bahrain’s emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa, on Wednesday invited UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson to visit the Gulf state and “learn more of the country's human rights progress,” reported the Gulf Daily News.
The paper said that the emir made the invitation in a written message delivered to Robinson at Wilson Palace in Geneva by Bahrain's permanent UN representative, Saeed Al Faihani.
“Mrs. Robinson would also be able to witness the new political freedom in Bahrain,” the emir said in his message.
The emir was replying to a message, which he received from Robinson on July 4, lauding his speech marking International Day for the Victims of Torture, said the paper.
She also hailed the major human rights developments taking place in Bahrain, said an information ministry statement, cited by the paper.
The message also discussed cooperation between Bahrain and the UNHCR Bureau for Human Rights in addition to Robinson's efforts to protect rights around the world.
According to Amnesty International's 2001 report, the year 2000 saw "further significant political and human rights developments" in Bahrain.
"The emir publicly pledged his commitment to the protection of human rights and expressed his willingness to allow international human rights organizations to visit the country," said the report. "Increasingly, Bahraini newspapers carried articles on issues such as democracy, free elections and respect for human rights, and in August a journalists' association was set up."
"For the first time women were urged to take a more active role in the political affairs of the country," Amnesty reported, and "scores of political prisoners and detainees were released following an order by the emir."
"Among those who benefited from the Amir's order were 'Omran Hussain 'Omran and Shaikh Mohammed Al Rayyash; both had been held for more than four years without charge or trial." - Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)