Cameron Urges Bahraini King to Institute Reform
British Prime Minister David Cameron urged Bahrain’s King Hamad Al-Khalifa to implement reforms and has offered UK support. King Hamad said he wanted the U.K.’s advice regarding the reform of the police and judiciary, and that he had decided to invite all parties to post an adviser in his office to monitor the reconciliation and reform process. Cameron emphasized the “importance of strengthening respect for human rights,” asking “the king to deliver swiftly on the commitments he has made to implement the recommendations from the [BICI report] and to drive forward reform and reconciliation in the country, engaging with the opposition as part of that process.”
Amensty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said that “Cameron’s meeting … is an opportunity … to make it clear that Bahrain still has a lot to do to repair the damage of its crackdown on the protests this year. There should be no death sentences and no ‘revenge’ convictions. Bahrain’s human rights record is still heavily tarnished.”
Meanwhile, the National Commission tasked with reviewing and instituting the recommendations of the BICI report held its first meeting. Ali Saleh Al Saleh, the chair of the commission, said that its work would be “the gateway through which Bahrain will resume its progress as a pioneer in human rights, development and democracy,” and that the commission ”will work within a framework of transparency to keep the public up to date with its progress.” Additionally, Al-Wefaq stated there is evidence to show that an infant died in her home as a result of tear gas inhalation. A more detailed coroner’s report has been requested, says Jawad Fairouz, a member of al-Wefaq. Government officials denied the claims, saying the health ministry had confirmed the cause of death as bacterial meningitis.
Finally, Cole Bockenfeld, the Director of Advocacy at the Project on Middle East Democracy, details the extent of Washington lobbyists’ work for Bahrain, suggesting that “rather than devoting energy to rebuilding its image, the [Bahraini] government should be working harder to implement tangible reform.”