BUILD CIVIL SOCIETY CULTURE

Youth leader says, Ireland divided on different issues, still its journey continues

Bahrain needs a strong civil society to fight its way to national reconciliation, which needs a stronger back up from its government, stated a youth leader.

Making his observation after visiting the Northern Ireland under the aegis of Bahrain Federation for Reconciliation and Civil Discourse (BFRCD) and London based Causeway Institute for Peace-building and Conflict Resolution, Al Fateh Youth Coalition (FYC) representative Yacoub Al Slaise observed that reconciliation was a long journey to be undertaken.“This long journey has to start with political settlement and dialogue is the only way out,“ Mr Al Slaise told DT News.

“We could draw a lot of parallels between Northern Ireland and Bahrain and we learnt that national reconciliation needs financial and logistical support from the government. Bahrain needs a strong civil society culture and we need to undertake many projects similar to what we saw in Ireland,“ said Mr. Al Slaise.

He pointed out that there were societies in Ireland which were as old as fifteen years that were still on their way to achieve the goal and noted that millions of pounds were being pumped in for sustaining such societies.

“The country has a society that is divided on different issues and possesses strong view points and still their journey continues, not through violence or street fights,“ he stated.

Violence widening rift

The delegation had also been part of the Chatham House discussion which focused on Bahrain’s present political scenario.“Violence is not the way out, the FYC made it clear at the discussion and explained the present scenario of Bahrain.The violence is only widening the sectarian rift and complicating the issues and we do not support this,“ he noted.

The delegation during its week-long trip visited a number of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Irish Parliamentarians and Voluntary Civil Society members.

Ministry should change approach

Urging the Social Development Ministry to be more focused on its role to build the culture of civil society in the Kingdom, Mr. Al Slaise said that the approach of the ministry has been weakening the societies.“There is little freedom as lots of restraints imposed on societies. All societies need to open up further and should be granted freedom to operate. Grants should be wisely distributed and not be disbursed randomly. For this purpose, the ministry should form a strategy after discussing with the societies and the societies themselves should also come up with a road map,“ he urged.

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