Interior Minister meets key EU officials

Brussels, Feb. 1. (BNA) – Interior Minister Lieutenant-General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, who is currently on an official visit to friendly Belgium, met here today the European Union (EU)’s Special Representative for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis. Shaikh Rashid informed the EU representative about the Interior Ministry’s efforts to consolidate human rights and provide

Brussels, Feb. 1. (BNA) – Interior Minister Lieutenant-General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, who is currently on an official visit to friendly Belgium, met here today the European Union (EU)’s Special Representative for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis.

Shaikh Rashid informed the EU representative about the Interior Ministry’s efforts to consolidate human rights and provide all kinds of protection for them, stressing the civilised approach based on human rights respect adopted in addressing all issues, which, he said, was reflected in the Government of Bahrain’s way of dealing with the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI).

The Interior Ministry has gone beyond mere implementation of the recommendations, but has incorporated them within a comprehensive development strategy which it is currently implementing according to clear goals and programmes, explaining that an independent Ombudsman office was established, tight guarantors for arrest and detention procedures have been put in place and intensive training of security personnel was launched, with 5469 persons trained in 2012 and 2013.

He added that citizens from all governorates had joined the Community Police, investigation and detention centres were provided audio-visual recording equipment, norms governing the use of force and weapons, a Police Code of Conduct and an accountability system were devised and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Commission of the Rights of Prisoners and Detainees have been granted the right to inspect prisons independently.

He also said that a number of plans and programmes to promote human rights principles had been launched, in cooperation with international experts, a Special Investigation Unit (SIU) had been set up at the Public Prosecution to investigate into cases of ill-treatment and a National Fund for the Reparation of Victims had been established.

He pointed out that the National Dialogue in Bahrain aims to reach a “consensual” solution that satisfies all parties, emphasising that His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s initiative to resume it proves the seriousness of the Royal Reform Project.

He called upon all parties to agree on the agenda of the National Dialogue so that it will be effective and help achieve public interests.

EU’s Special Representative for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis lauded the initiative launched to resume the National Dialogue among all parties, and asserted that it would consolidate security and stability in the kingdom, expressing EU’s readiness to support Bahrain’s efforts to promote human rights through its expertise in this regard.

He also hailed the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman, stressing the importance of its independence and effective role.

“Violence, including that which happens during protests, must stop,” he said, adding that the “European Union is for long-term reform and national reconciliation.”

Other issues of mutual concern and the need to continue joint coordination were also spotlighted.

The Interior Minister also met here the Secretary-General of the European External Action Service, and Deputy High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy Mr. Pierre Vimont.

He welcomed the Minister and conveyed the best wishes of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy Catherine Ashton and stressed the importance of direct communication to exchange information and reinforce friendly ties between Bahrain and the European Union, welcoming the Royal initiative to continue the National Dialogue by all groups for the best interests of Bahrain and those in the region.

Shaikh Rashid said that the Ministry of Interior has dealt with various situations from the beginning of regretful incidents in 2011 through many reforms and initiatives, including the implementation of the BICI recommendations, affirming that the dialogue will continue and won’t stop despite the hesitation of some groups.
He added that the leadership believes in the importance of the dialogue and reform and stressed that the Interior Ministry is working to create the best environment for the success of the dialogue.

The implications of situations in Syria and their effect on regional and international security were also discussed.
Bilateral relations between Bahrain and the European Union, including coordination and cooperation through exchange of expertise and information were also discussed, in addition to topics related to regional security and stability.
The Bahrain Ambassador in Belgium and an accompanying delegation attended the meetings.

The Kingdom’s Ambassador to Belgium and members of the Interior Minister’s accompanying delegation attended the meetings.
It is to be noted that Interior Minister arrived to Brussels from Washington following an official visit to the United States, where he held a series of meetings with a number of officials from the State Department, the Congress, the Pentagon, the FBI and CIA.

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