September 26, 2013 § Leave a comment
Yesterday, as I listened to President Obama deliver his speech at the 68th session of the General Assembly, I was disappointed to hear him compare the situation in Bahrain to that of the current situation in Iraq and the unfolding tragedies in Syria. Notwithstanding the efforts of some groups to reframe what is at the core a political debate, Bahrain’s government has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to resolve differences within its society peacefully through dialogue and without preconditions. The president’s statement does not reflect Bahrain’s well known history as a progressive outpost in the Middle East and the progress we have made in responding to the events of February and March 2011.
Over its history, Bahrain has provided unparalleled opportunities to its citizens regardless of gender, ethnicity or religion. This is not a well-worn public relations cliché, but the reality that thousands of Bahrainis live every day. In no other county in the Middle East is my story – that of a Jewish woman who rose on her merits to the highest levels of civil society – even possible. I have the privilege of serving my country precisely because Bahrain is a place where hard work and ingenuity provide an equality of opportunity.
At the same time, Bahrain’s program of reform is not complete and we remain committed to making Bahrain a better place for all its citizens. I serve with a number of outstanding public servants committed to this noble goal, and we should not allow a violent, vocal minority to reverse the social, economic and political progress we have made thus far under the leadership of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
As a country, we are committed to moving forward. Making such a false equivalence only serves to obfuscate this important work.
September 11, 2013 § Leave a comment
September 10, 2013 § Leave a comment
Yesterday, I was delighted to read that Bahrain would be hosting the fifth event on the Formula One Grand Prix schedule in 2014. Next year’s race will mark the 10 year anniversary of the first Grand Prix to be held in Bahrain – which was also the first event held in the Middle East. The Bahrain International Circuit is currently undergoing considerable renovations to mark this occasion and to ensure the track is prepared to host a nighttime race.
Every year, the Bahrain Grand Prix offers a great opportunity for all Bahrainis to come together in celebration of a common achievement for our country. The event also provides immeasurable economic and social benefits for business, hotels, and restaurants who cater to the fans who travel to Bahrain from all over the world to attend.
Politics should never interfere in sport, and I deeply believe that the Grand Prix can play an important role in national reconciliation. It is sometimes easy to lose track of the fact that, despite many difficulties we have faced as a country, Bahrain remains one of the most progressive countries in the Middle East – and we have a great deal to offer the world. I am eagerly anticipating being able to attend.
September 4, 2013 § Leave a comment
On Monday, the Arab League finalized its decision establishing the headquarters of the Arab Court of Human Rights in Bahrain. This important initiative builds upon His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s ongoing commitment to expanding human rights and basic human liberties in Bahrain and across the Arab World. In fact, His Majesty was the driving force behind the Court’s creation in November 2011, when he argued that its establishment would represent an important step to keep pace with the aspirations of the Arab people.
The pan-Arab court is being hailed as a consolidation of human rights culture in the Arab world. It is a major stride on the right path to disseminate and protect human rights in the region, and in staying on the same track as other developed nations which boast significant progress in this field.
Bahrain has a firm resolve to spare no effort for the court to achieve its goals and promote the protection of human rights in the Arab World. It will operate under the framework of the Arab Charter on Human Rights, which has been ratified by the Arab states, including Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The charter was adopted by the Arab League in 2004, has been in force since March 2008, and affirms the principles contained in the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.