Bahraini Constitutional Reforms Do Not Effect Change, says Opposition
Amid continuing unrest, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa ratified constitutional reforms on Thursday in hopes of ending more than a year of protest. However the reforms fall short of opposition members expectations. Khalil Marzouk, a senior member of al-Wefaq said, “The amendments have not changed the core of the dispute and have not ended the crisis. They have not met the people’s hopes and they have consecrated the constitution of 2002 which gives the authorities the keys of government.”
In an interview with NPR’s Morning Edition Marzouk and Bahraini human rights activist Maryam al-Khawaja decried the lack of independent institutions in Bahrain. Commenting on the retrial of her hungerstriking father Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, al-Khuwaja said judiciary lacks independence and is usually used as a political tool of the government. Al-Marzouk echoed these sentiments, adding that the government’s reluctance to make concessions has resulted in more repression, radicalization, and polarization of Bahraini society.
Saqer al-Khalifa, royal family member and ex-media attaché of the Kingdom of Bahrain, writes on Bahrain’s continued evolution into a constitutional monarchy. The evolution, said al-Khalifa, has not happened fast enough. He claims that the recent criticism of the Bahraini government in the media is the result of the media’s ignorance of Bahrain’s traditions, culture, and history.
Meanwhile, Reporters without Borders condemned the withdrawal of permission given to a delegation of NGOs to visit Bahrain. The delegation had received permission to visit the country from the Ministry of Human Rights and Social Development on April 11. Bahraini authorities decided on Monday that new regulations that limits the presence of NGOs in any one week. The delegation members wrote a letter to the ministry condemning withdrawal of permission. Nada al-Wadi writes about the disappearance of independent voices in traditional media outlets in Bahrain, also noting the twelve public relations firms hired by the government to “filter” the narrative of the crisis.”