‘A time for national reconciliation’

Originally published DT News 25th Nov. 2013

BICI

A political youth group in the Kingdom yesterday expressed its disappointment at the government for not implementing key recommendations of the Bassiouni Report, more popularly known as the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), even after two years had passed. It should be recalled that the BICI was established by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in Royal Order No. 28 of 2011, which was issued on July 1, 2011 with immediate force of law, wherein article 1 states that, ‘An independent Commission of Inquiry is hereby established to investigate and report on the events occurring in Bahrain in February/March 2011, and any subsequent consequences arising out of the aforementioned events, and to make such recommendations as it may deem appropriate.’

The BICI members were Chair Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni and Commissioners Nigel Rodley, Badria Al Awadhi, Philippe Kirsch and Mahnoush H. Arsanjani. The BICI Report was submitted to His Majesty the King by Mr. Bassiouni’s group on November 23, 2011. Demanding that a new committee should pursue the BICI recommendations, the Al Fateh Youth Coalition (FYC) pointed out that the political stalemate ‘must come to an end’ and a dialogue between parties was ‘vital.’ “Two years after the release of the report, we are disappointed at the nonimplementation of many of the BICI recommendations, particularly those related to the file of national reconciliation, not restricting media and the opportunity to open private media channels,” said FYC spokesperson Yacoub Al Slaise. On the occasion marking the second anniversary of the issuance of the BICI report, FYC lauded HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s initiative of instituting the BICI, which they noted was a ‘positive and courageous step’ towards a solution to the crisis. “With regard to the implementation of the recommendations of the Bassiouni Report, we call on the government not to restrict the work of the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) on the cases of torture. They must be allowed to work independently, without interference by the authorities. We also call on political and human rights associations’ cooperation with the unit to achieve their desired objectives,” said Mr. Al Slaise.

Calling upon the Interior Ministry to speed up the prison reforms and conditions as stated in the report, FYC emphasised on popular demand of fair judiciary. “We call upon a final decision on the file of compensation for those affected by the events of February and March 2011, and urge the opposition political societies to make real efforts to stop the violence and cowardly terrorist acts,” he added. Meanwhile, the Cabinet was yesterday briefed on the measures taken in implementing the 26 BICI recommendations.

“Nineteen recommendations have been fully implemented, and the remaining seven are in an advanced level of being implemented. The implementation is in line with Bahrain’s continuous reform project in all fields, which enhances openness and preserves pluralism,” said State Minister for Information Affairs and Official Government Spokesperson Sameera Rajab.

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