Bahrain

The recent election of Bahrain’s first female municipal councilor is boosting hopes among women here that they are seeing the beginning of the end to gender-based voting in this country. Indeed, even the women who failed in their own poll bids – some for the second or third time – are upbeat following the Oct. 30 win of Fatima Salman as councilor in Muharraq, the second largest city in Bahrain. Mariam Al Ruwai, president of Bahrain’s Women Union, is also raring to run again in the next polls, scheduled for 2014, despite her elimination from the first round of the recent parliamentary election.

Bahrain has made history by electing its first woman to a municipal council, as the country went to the polls for the second time in a week. Independent candidate Fatima Salman sealed victory in the second round of voting in Muharraq against male opponent Mohammed Abdulla Al Senan. She is the first woman to be directly elected to public office since Bahrain's parliament and five municipal councils were formed in 2002. Latifa Al Gaoud, the first woman to make it to parliament in 2006, was re-elected again this year - but ran unopposed both times.

It's hard to miss the signs on the streets of Manama: King Hamad peering benignly from giant billboards, and everywhere pictures of smiling candidates in spotless white dishdashas and headdresses pledging to build more houses, fight corruption and devote themselves to the welfare of ordinary voters. "Our appointment is with you," declares one official poster. "Your vote is for all of us," promises another. But tomorrow's election comes at an awkward moment for Bahrain, the Arab world's smallest country and – until now – one of the freest in the Gulf.

BAHRAINI women are losing battles in court due to a lack of awareness of their rights, according to a leading social worker. Their ignorance about Sharia law often allows cases to be ruled in favour of their husbands, said Bahrain Women Union (BWU) family counsellor Hanan Abdulla. "Due to them not knowing the laws and legislation regarding family matters, they become hopeless in front judges at Sharia Courts," she said. "This leads them to lose their cases, even though they could have easily won if they were more aware of their rights." Ms Abdulla is trying to turn the situation around working at the BWU's legal department to give women advice and counselling on domestic cases.

 لا يزال الألم يعصرني ، والحيرة تطاردني ، وقلبي يذوب ألما على تلك الصغيرة التي يزوجونها وهي في سن صغيرة ، في زهرة عمرها الجميل ، وحياتها البريئة ، وطفولتها التي ترسم المستقبل الجميل ، في ما يسمونه بالقفص الذهبي وهي في عمر الزهور، وليس لذلك مستند علمي أو شرعي أو حتى اجتماعي، كل ما في الأمر أن الأب ، الذي يفترض أن يكون أرأف الناس وأرحمهم بابنته ، تراه أول من يبادر بتزويجها، بل بيعها، بحجة الستر، وهو يبتغي وراء ذلك المال الوفير، وملء بطنه بالسحت ، أو لكي يتحرر من مسؤولياته ومصروفات البنات، وكأنهن لسن من صلبه ، بحجة ان الإنفاق على البنات قد غدا أمرًا عسيرًا ، وأن حسن التربية وتعليمها من الصعوبة بمكان .

Bahraini women married to foreigners have vowed to step in during parliamentary elections to be held this year to pressure the government to amend in the nationality law. During a meeting between the Bahraini women married to foreigners and representatives of the Nationality Campaign, a panel of eight women was formed to use power of their vote to get the law amended.

بعد انتظار لاكثر من 8 سنوات، ووعود قدمتها حكومة البحرين للامم المتحدة بتشكيل هيئة وطنية مستقلة لحقوق الانسان، اصدر ملك البحرين أمرا ملكيا رقم (46) لسنة 2009 بإنشاء "المؤسسة الوطنية لحقوق الانسان"، ثم امرا ملكيا آخرا (رقم 16) لسنة 2010 بتعيين رئيس واعضاء "المؤسسة الوطنية لحقوق الانسان".

PRESS STATEMENT ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE “NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTION” IN BAHRAIN: NGOs consider this a non-independent government-backed organization and will continue demanding the formation of an independent national instition. The choice of members appointed by royal order to the committee of this organization poses serious questions on the credibility and independence of this organization and the NGOs these members are associated with. 

ويعد التقرير، الذي صدر في ثلاثمائة صفحة، هو المجلد الخامس من سلسلة تقارير التنمية الإنسانية العربية، التي يرعاها برنامج الأمم المتحدة الإنمائي، ويضعها عدد من المثقفين والباحثين في البلدان العربية. وانتقد التقرير أوضاع حقوق الإنسان في البلاد العربية، وعلاقة الدولة فيها بالمواطن وأمنه وحقوقه، وغياب الدولة المدنية.

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