BAHRAIN: Children's Rights References in the Universal Periodic Review (Second Cycle)

Error message

Strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in eval() (line 1 of /var/www/crin/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_argument_default_php.inc(53) : eval()'d code).

Summary: A compilation of extracts featuring child-rights issues from the reports submitted to the second Universal Periodic Review. There are extracts from the 'National Report', the 'Compilation of UN Information' and the 'Summary of Stakeholders' Information'. Also included is the list of accepted and rejected recommendations.

Bahrain – 2nd Session - 2012
Monday 21 May 2012 - 9.00 a.m. - 12.30 p.m.

Scroll to:

National Report

Compilation of UN Information

Summary of Stakeholders' Information

Accepted and Rejected Recommendations

(Read the first review cycle)

 

 

National Report

 

The concerned agencies in Bahrain are studying the possibility of withdrawing or reformulating several reservations concerning articles of the Convention to avoid conflicting with the Islamic Sharia. They are also studying the possibility of narrowing the scope of the reservation to article 2 to the status of women in the family. Regarding the reservation to article 9 (2), concerning citizenship, the proposed amendment of the Nationality Law is currently being discussed with the concerned authorities with a view toward authorizing the granting Bahraini citizenship to the children of Bahraini women married to foreigners according to objective rules and standards that protect the rights of this group and do not conflict with the principle of state sovereignty. The concerned authorities in Bahrain are seeking, in cooperation with the legislative authority, to expedite examination of this draft law. (Section 3b)

 

As stated regarding the second recommendation (b) above, the proposed amendment of the Nationality Law is currently being discussed with the concerned agencies with a view toward authorizing the granting Bahraini citizenship to the children of Bahraini women married to foreigners according to objective rules and standards that protect the rights of this group and do not conflict with the principle of state sovereignty. The concerned authorities in Bahrain are seeking, in cooperation with the legislative authority, to expedite examination of a draft amendment to the Nationality Law. The following temporary measures have been taken to grant women a right equal to that of men with respect to the granting of Bahraini citizenship to their children:

 

A joint committee has been formed of representatives of the concerned agencies to study the possibility of granting Bahraini citizenship to entitled persons according to objective standards and rules. His Highness, the dearly beloved King, issued a royal order in December 2011 granting Bahraini citizenship to 335 children of Bahraini women married to foreigners.

 

Law No. 35 of 2009 was promulgated to treat the children of Bahraini women married to non-Bahrain men as Bahraini citizens with respect to the exemption of children from fees for government, health, educational services, and permanent residence in Bahrain. This law is intended to improve the living conditions of this group. The minor child of a Bahraini woman may be granted an entry visa for a visit or permanent residency (entry) at no cost based on the sponsorship of the child's mother. An adult son or unmarried adult daughter of such a woman may also be granted an entry visa at no cost based on the mother's sponsorship when the children enrols in the educational system. (Section 3e)

 

A draft law amending several provisions of the 1963 Nationality Law is currently being discussed with the concerned authorities with a view toward authorizing the granting Bahraini citizenship to the children of Bahraini women married to foreigners according to objective rules and standards that protect the rights of this group and do not conflict with the principle of state sovereignty. The concerned authorities in Bahrain are seeking, in cooperation with the legislative authority, to expedite examination of this draft law. (Section 4c)

 

Child protection law: The government has submitted a draft child protection law in implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The most salient provisions of the law include raising the age of majority to 18 and establishing the right of children to health and education. The government will work to implement this law in cooperation with the legislative authority. (Section 4c)

 

A centre for the protection of children has been established. It evaluates and monitors children exposed to abuse, physical and psychological harm, neglect, and sexual assault. It provides and facilitates evaluation, investigation, treatment, and follow-up services for such children in coordination with the various relevant government and private entities, and it operates a round-the- clock hotline (child support and help line). (Section 4d)

 

National Strategy for the Child. (Section 4d)

 

National Committee for Childhood: The committee's members include representatives of the relevant government entities and civil society organizations. It is concerned with everything related to the affairs of children. (Section 4f)

 

Bahrain continues to fully implement the recommendations of the committees supervising compliance with human rights conventions, and to work with the concerned agencies in Bahrain to submit its reports at the designated times. Bahrain submitted its second and third report on its implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which discussed Bahrain's report in June 2011. It submitted its third report on its compliance with the CEDAW to the concerned committee on 14 July 2011. Bahrain is currently in the process of preparing reports required under other human rights conventions (one of the commitments in the first report). (Section 5b)

 

Multiple workshops were held for judges of the Sharia courts on the application of the provisions of the Family Law, with a focus on the rights of the wife and children. (Section 6b1)

 

A workshop was held during 26-27 October 2009 on the rights of children at various educational levels in cooperation with UNESCO. (Section 6c)

 

A course entitled "Human Rights Games Package for Children Ages 6 to 12" was held during 26-29 September 2011 in cooperation with the Arab Network for Human Rights and Citizenship Education (ANHRE) of Jordan. (Section 6c)

 

The Ministry of Interior has prepared a draft law amending the law on public meetings, marches, and assemblies based on the agreed national dialogue visions. The amendment includes a number of

provisions, the most important being: a prohibition on the participation of children in political marches and assemblies in observation of international human rights principles; emphasis on the role of police in providing protection for participants in these marches; establishment of rules regarding marches and assemblies so as not to damage the interests of society or impede or damage the national economy or public interests; emphasis on responsibility of the organizers of any assembly to maintain security; and a prohibition on holding assemblies near vital installations, airports, and hospitals. Constitutional measures have been taken to promulgate these amendments. In addition, Decree No. 27 of 2011 of his Excellency the Minister of Interior was issued to establish the duties and responsibilities of the committee that regulates assemblies or marches. (Section 7, 15)

 

Compilation of UN Information

 

5. In connection with the events of 2011, CRC reminded Bahrain of the continuous nature of international human rights obligations and that the rights under the Convention apply to all children at all times.

 

8. CRC was concerned at delays in the adoption of the Child Rights and Education Bill, the Law on the Family, the Law on Civil Society and the Law on Personal Status. CRC also recommended that Bahrain adopt a national policy on children with disabilities .

 

12. CRC encouraged measures to adopt a comprehensive National Plan of Action for Children and better coordination of efforts to implement the Convention among the National Committee on Childhood, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Consultative Council’s Human Rights Committee and the Child Protection Unit within the Ministry of Health.

 

19. CEDAW and CRC welcomed the 2006 royal decree granting citizenship to at least 372 children of Bahraini mothers and non-citizen fathers. CRC also noted with appreciation the endorsement of Law 35/2009, which ensures that children of Bahraini mothers married to non-citizens do not pay higher fees than citizens for government services. However, CEDAW remained concerned that the draft Nationality Law allowing the transfer of Bahraini citizenship to the children of Bahraini women and non-citizen fathers on the same basis as children of Bahraini fathers had not yet been passed. It urged Bahrain to take steps to expedite the adoption of the draft Law. CRC made similar observations. UNHCR noted that the current legislation did not ensure the right of every child to acquire a nationality, which might result in statelessness.

 

22. UNESCO noted that, although co-education was not practiced in Government schools, the educational system offered equal opportunities to boys and girls in all its stages, except in technical education, which was provided only for boys. CRC recommended that Bahrain review national legislation, carry out training and raise awareness to eliminate discrimination against the girl child, children with disabilities and children living in the poorest areas.

 

28. CRC noted with concern reports according to which torture had been used during the political events in 2011, including against persons under the age of 18. It recommended that Bahrain promptly investigate allegations of torture and prosecute perpetrators. CRC urged Bahrain to take measures to ensure that no child was subjected to torture, and to prohibit torture in law. Preventive measures needed to include independent monitoring of places of detention and comprehensive training for security and police personnel. CRC was concerned that the political unrest had had disturbing influences on the children in Bahrain, resulting in breaches of the basic rights of children to survival, health and protection.

 

30. CEDAW commended the enactment of Law No. 1 (2008) on human trafficking and the establishment of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking. However, it remained concerned at the existence of trafficking in women and girls into Bahrain for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

 

31. The ILO Committee of Experts requested data on the worst forms of child labour, including child trafficking. CRC urged Bahrain to take all appropriate steps to eliminate exploitative child labour and ensure the enforcement of applicable sanctions against persons violating existing legislation.

 

32. CEDAW was concerned that article 535 of the Penal Code exempts perpetrators of rape from prosecution if they marry their victims, and CRC was concerned that, as a solution for child sexual abuse cases, marriage between victim and abuser was encouraged.

 

39. CRC reiterated its recommendation that Bahrain bring the system of juvenile justice fully into line with the Convention. It urged Bahrain to ensure that the principle of the best interests of the child is consistently applied in all legislative, administrative and judicial proceedings. CRC noted as positive the possibility for judges in family cases to hear children concerned by the decisions.

 

40. CEDAW was concerned at the lack of a codified family law containing clear and non-discriminatory provisions on marriage, divorce, inheritance and child custody. CRC expressed concern at discrimination regarding the minimum age of marriage, which is 15 for girls and 18 for boys, noting that girls could marry even before the age of 15 with the agreement of a judge. CEDAW urged Bahrain to take all appropriate measures to end the practice of polygamy. CRC welcomed efforts to codify the Sunni family law, but was concerned at the inconsistency among judgements of the different court systems in Bahrain.

 

42. CRC noted the establishment of a centre specializing in the protection of children, overseen by the Ministry of Social Development, and the creation of a helpline for children.

 

46. CRC was concerned that the freedom of expression, the freedom of association and peaceful assembly, and access to appropriate information were not always respected, including during the events of 2011, particularly for children.

 

50. The ILO Committee of Experts noted the Government’s indication that the Labour Law would be amended to provide for the protection of children, and urged measures to prohibit the engagement of persons under 18 in hazardous work.

 

54. CRC commended Bahrain on the success in reducing child and maternal mortality.

 

55. While welcoming progress made with regard to equality in education, CEDAW remained concerned that certain areas of education are available mainly to boys. It recommended that Bahrain continue raising awareness of the importance of education for the empowerment of women. CRC called upon Bahrain to adopt the Child Rights and Education Bill.

 

Summary of Stakeholders' Information

 

2. AI noted that Bahrain had agreed to undertake a public education campaign aimed at withdrawing reservations to CEDAW, ratifying OP-CEDAW and harmonizing national legislation with the Convention. However, reservations made to CEDAW remained. JS4 stated that Bahrain had ignored most UPR recommendations, including recommendations to withdraw reservations to CEDAW; to sign CED; and to enact a law providing for citizenship of children whose father is not Bahraini.

 

7. AI noted that several draft laws were pending approval by the Shura Council (the appointed Upper House of Parliament), including the draft press law and a draft children’s law. In October 2011, the Shura Council had adopted an article of the latter draft law that will raise the upper age definition of a child from 16 to 18 years.

 

16. AI stated that women were still subject to discrimination in law, as well as in practice. For example, while Bahraini men married to foreign spouses can pass on Bahraini nationality to their children this is still not possible for Bahraini women married to foreign men.

 

26. The Organization for Defending Victims of Violence (ODVV) stated that women had not been immune from arrests, abuse and torture. Reportedly more than 25 women had been arrested during various protests in the country, and some had been raped. Allegedly children and youths had also been victims of the recent crisis.

 

28. Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children (GIEACPC) highlighted with concern lack of progress towards prohibiting corporal punishment of children, and strongly recommended that legislation be introduced to prohibit all forms of corporal punishment of children in all settings.

 

60. JS4 stated that 40 students had been expelled from educational institutions, while others had been forced to sign a loyalty pledge.” JS2 stated that students that had taken part in the anti-government protests had been arrested and suspended from their universities and many subjected to trials by military courts. JS2 called for immediate corrective measures redressing violations against the rights of students and academics.


Accepted and Rejected Recommendations:

The following recommendations were accepted by Bahrain:

A - 115.21. Incorporate into national law Bahrain’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Belgium)

A - 115.29. Enhance the protection for child rights by issuing the child law (Sudan);

A - 115.38. Adopt a national policy on children with disabilities (Chile);

A - 115.97. Increase its further efforts in the area of combating human trafficking, including considering the possibility to develop a state program or a plan of actions aimed at strengthening the Government’s measures to prevent and eliminate sexual exploitation and trafficking of children (Belarus);

A - 115.138. Carry-out awareness raising campaigns on the importance of adopting a unified law on the family and increasing the minimum age for marriage (Chile);

A - 115.139. Consider passing legislation on family law containing clear and non-discriminatory provisions on marriage, divorce, inheritance and child custody (Brazil)

A - 115.140. Continue to take the vital steps to grant citizenship to children of Bahraini mothers in the same fashion as children of Bahraini fathers as CEDAW and the CRC have pointed out (Japan);

A - 115.141. Enact law providing for full citizenship rights for the children of Bahrain mothers and non-Bahrain fathers (Norway);

A - 115.142. Complete by making the amendment to the proposed amendment to the nationality law that guarantees the Bahraini nationality for children from a Bahraini mother and a non-Bahraini father law (Sudan);

A - 115.143. Speed up the reforms on the legislation for citizenship for children of Bahraini mother and non-Bahraini father; (Algeria)

A - 115.168. Review national legislation and develop awareness and training programmes in order to eliminate legal and de facto discrimination against boys and girls with disabilities and as well as with respect to those children living in the poorest areas of the country (Uruguay);

A - 115.169. Continue taking necessary efforts and action to provide appropriate educational opportunities for persons with disabilities (Ecuador);

A - 115.170. Continue strengthening efforts to guarantee access to adequate education for persons with disabilities (United Arab Emirates);

A - 115.171. Efforts should continue to be perused in order to provide opportunities of adequate education for persons with disabilities (Yemen);

A - 115.172. Provide adequate education opportunities for the persons with disabilities (Saudi Arabia);


No recommendations were rejected

No recommendations were left pending

 

Countries

Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.