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Drafting a New Story: Women's Rights in the Middle East

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From the Bahrain Women’s Association

BWA voices its shock and disapproval of the move taken by the National Security Apparatus, namely summarily summoning two female BWA members on Friday 2 July 2010 for investigating their coordination of a meeting between a satellite channel and a group of Bahraini women married to non Bahrainis, whose rights Citizenship law have not been secured because they cannot pass their nationality to their children.

The Association regrets the execution of such and similar practices by the national security body.  This is only part of a series of clearly backward procedures seeking the limitation of the space allowed for civil society organizations and suppressing their important role in the progress of the country, the enhancement of human development, the implementation of the principle of the rule of law and institutions. Furthermore, such measures come in flagrant violation of the provisions of the Bahraini Constitution and the spirit of the National Charter, in addition to their evident infringement of all international agreements and conventions on public freedoms, to which the Kingdom of Bahrain has committed itself vis-à-vis the international community. BWA, as such, states that such practices undermine and contradict the statement made by his majesty in his initiative for achieving the prosperity of the country, and the Bahraini woman in particular.

The Association is annoyed by the unprofessional and unacceptable manner of the summons, which is unseemly in such an age of openness and freedoms recently enjoyed throughout the Kingdom. The two activists were summoned from their homes without any formal correspondence with the head of the Association or the Board of Directors. BWA wonders about the role of the National Security Apparatus in this situation, which has little implication for political or security matters. This situation has set a very serious precedence and shall have more consequences to come, if it is not treated wisely and responsibly.

In conclusion we urge the state institutions to participate in enhancing the role of civil society and its partnerships within the community, especially among women’s organizations. This is aimed at creating a true partnership among state and civil society organizations. Everybody is also called upon to engage positively with the pending issues related to the right of women to full citizenship as provided for by the Charter, the Constitution, and international conventions; and to ensure that this human issue is not diverted so that it gets enmeshed with others having a political nature.

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