عربي

National Democratic Action Society “Waad” Statement Marking 41 Years of Independence
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2012-11-27 10:38:13


Today, the 14th of August, marks the 41st year of Bahrain’s independence from the British mandate, following the Labour British Government’s decision in January 1968 to withdraw its armed forces from the East of the Suez Canal and the Arabian Gulf – a time when the British power began to wane and the United States of America’s rose to become the leader of the capitalist world during the Cold War.

 

With the British military retreat date from Bahrain and the Arabic Emirates imminent, the people of Bahrain had already decided their national identity, rejecting the claims of the Shah of Iran that Bahrain belonged to the Persian throne and affirming their Arabic identity The facts found by the UN Secretary General’s Personal Envoy’s fact-finding mission in Bahrain, following his visit in April 1970, resulted in the Security Council’s agreement on the Arab identity of Bahrain and the determination of its people to obtain recognition of their identity in a sovereign independent state, free to shape its relationships with other countries.

 

With the Government of Bahrain’s official declaration of its independence on the 14th August 1971, and the exchange of memorandums on the following day between Bahrain and Britain that essentially nulled previous agreements, Bahrain was accepted as a member of the Arab League on 11th of September the same year and as a member of the United Nations on 21st of September of the same year.

 

After its independence, Bahrain urgently needed to establish a modern constitutional state, and the Government prepared a draft Constitution in June 1972, paving way to the Constituent Assembly, which approved the first Contractual Constitution between the Government and people in its 45th session held on the 9th of June 1975. Despite Bahrain's early democratic experience with the National Assembly in 1974, the Assembly was abruptly dissolved on the 23rd of August 1975, forcing the country into a dark phase of  history with the implementation of the State Security Law and the establishment of the State Security Court that lasted until February 2001, when His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa decided to repeal this ill-reputable law and the notorious Court where political detainees were driven to during the state security era that came to disrupt democratic life in Bahrain for more than 25 years.

 

The proposal of the National Action Charter on the 14th of February 2011 was an important step towards building a state of institutions, law and human rights. His Majesty the King released a blanket amnesty for all political prisoners, exiles and deportees, establishing a new political ground that was fit for building a modern democratic state. However, the 2001 Constitution came as a blatant coup against the charter when it was issued in form of a grant to the people with individualistic majestic will, leading to a decade of political and sectarian tension lasting for a decade. This tension lead to the popular movement that began on the 14th of February 2011, where the political opposition demanded the revision of the Constitution and its legislative institutions in order for the various components of the Bahraini society to contribute in building a real constitutional monarchy as stated in the National Action Charter.

 

In light of the events that shook Bahrain last year, the National Democratic Action Society “Waad”, together with political opposition societies, presented their constitutional political views to the His Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, emphasizing the importance of adhering to constitutional legitimacy and constitutional monarchy, stressing that the people are the source of all powers, as stated by the Constitution. Opposition also called for the implementation of real amendments to the Constitution via a Constituent Assembly, a fair electoral system, fair constituencies and a just government that represents the people’s demands, as well as demands for stopping political naturalization, controlling corruption and resolving the living crisis of many. Following the dialogue initiative announced by His Royal Highness the Crown Prince on the 13th  of March 2011, the seven political societies hurried to welcome the 7-point initiative – before the political solution to our crisis was replaced by a security approach that forced the country further into crisis suffering from it to today.

 

The National Democratic Action Society “Waad”, and in order to get out of this suffocating political crisis, emphasizes on:

 

  1. The fundamental rights of Bahraini citizens, such as freedom of expression, the right to decent work and living and freedom of political activity, in addition to the right not be arrested or tortured based on political opinions, are rights legally protected by the Constitution, National Action Charter and all international conventions and treaties signed by the Kingdom of Bahrain. Therefore, the Government is responsible for respecting all these rights in full which cannot be bargained in any way.

 

  1. Moving the country out of its stifling crisis requires official authorities to take serious steps that are even bolder than those initiated by His Majesty the King in February 2001. Initiatives such as the immediate application of His Majesty’s directives to return all those dismissed and suspended from work including medical and educational staff, and applying the relevant internal disciplinary procedures in cases of retaliation and revenge, would be sufficient to calm the increasing political and sectarian tension, and so would the release of political detainees including Waad’s Secretary General Mr. Ibrahim Sharif.

 

  1. Political and sectarian agitation campaigns led by the official media would only cause further deterioration into a sectarian abyss and division among the various components of society.

 

  1. The implementation of a transitional justice initiative based on fairness, openness and national reconciliation needs to take place, as agreed in principle during the Dialogue, and as presented by Waad’s comprehensive proposal in this regard. This would play a role in the reparation and compensation of all victims of the dark phase experienced by our country.

 

  1. Waad demands official celebration of Bahrain’s real Independence Day due to its political and moral importance to our people, who sacrificed martyrs, detainees and lived in exiles since the fifties and sixties of the last century and throughout the uprisings demanding the expulsion of British colonial rule in order to obtain independence and political participation and freedom. The celebration of this grand national occasion, and honouring the families of martyrs and freedom fighters does not conflict neither with the anniversary celebrations of the ascension of the late Prince nor any other celebrations the Government envisions celebrating.

 

Forty one years following the declaration of independence, Waad emphasizes the importance of a serious national dialogue in setting the path for a true constitutional monarchy, in order to meet the demands for decent living, comprehensive human development that respects the human being and its legitimate rights in accordance with the international conventions, the Constitution and National Action Charter as demanded by Bahraini people of all political, sectarian and ethnic backgrounds. It is the way to stop the drift towards more internal divisions threatening our country, and is a more correct way to wave way the spectre of regional and international interventions in our internal affairs.

 

 

National Democratic Action Society “Waad”

14 August 2012

 
 
 
 
 

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