BAHRAIN’s landmark National Action Charter was commemorated yesterday during a parliamentary forum at the Gulf Hotel Convention and Spa.
The event took place ahead of the forthcoming 17th anniversary of the document, which falls on February 14.
In 2001 the charter was approved in a national referendum by 98.4 per cent of voters, heralding the dawn of reforms that included a new constitution and the formation of parliament the following year.
“As part of the National Action Charter’s plan, Bahrain has achieved much to create laws for the country and constitutional organisations,” said parliament chairman Ahmed Al Mulla during the event.
“Most important among them is reinstating parliament to evolve political work in making decisions for the country, create a roadmap and take a legislative and supervisory role in various aspects of life for the country and its citizens.
“The work and accomplishments of Bahrain are still ongoing and will not stop or stall thanks to God, royal determination and the support of the people – in spite of challenges and conspiracies.”
Yesterday’s forum included a panel of local and regional experts who discussed political, religious and economic aspects of the charter.
“This forum is an important point for parliament as we are approaching a new legislative term and new elections,” said Constitutional Court director of media and international affairs Shaikh Khalid bin Isa Al Khalifa.
“Furthermore, it shows the steps that Bahrain has taken in terms of human rights and safety matters.” The forum was organised in co-operation with the International Peace Institute, under the theme “Future Prospects, Sustainable Development and Peace”.
According to a conference communiqué read by MP Abdulrahman Bumajeed, participants reiterated their rejection of all forms of foreign interference in the domestic affairs of Bahrain and those of the countries in the region.
They also called on the international community to combat terrorism in all its forms, as well as its financing sources and inciters.
They also called for the launch of national campaigns to strengthen the sense of belonging to the nation values, and respect for the state of law and institutions, as well as to promote the values of citizenship, human rights and social justice.
The participants stressed that the security of the nation is a top priority, being “the safeguard of the country, its territorial integrity and its socioeconomic and political gains”, as stipulated in Chapter IV of the National Action Charter.
They called for intensifying participation in the public and political life, and the democratic practices guaranteed for everyone by the constitution.
They also lauded the fundamental political principles of the GCC, which were affirmed by Charter, noting that the security of Bahrain and that of other GCC countries are integral to each other.
They also voiced their pride in the kingdom’s Arab and Islamic dimensions.
Speakers reiterated their support of Bahraini women’s role and empowerment at various work sites, expressing pride in women’s success to reach local and international advanced posts through which they contributed to the comprehensive sustainable development of the kingdom.
They also affirmed their support for Bahraini youth, and the need to provide them with all forms of assistance, in line with their belief that countries’ progress and future depend on their youngsters.
The National Action Charter Conference featured three main plenary sessions, covering three themes about politics, religion and economy.
The first session, related to the political theme and entitled “NAC Idea and Benefits”, was moderated by MP Abdulrahman Bumajeed.
Cabinet Affairs Minister and member of the Supreme Committee of the National Action Charter, Mohammed Al Mutawa, spoke about the NAC’s idea and efforts.
The second session on religious matters, themed “NAC Tolerance and Peace”, was moderated by Assistant Foreign Minister Abdulla Al Dossari.
Central Bank of Bahrain Governor Rasheed Al Miraj and Afnan Al Zayani were the key speakers at the third session on “Sustainable Development and Prospects”.