Sun   19 Aug 2018   Search
Charter paved way for democratic, modern Bahrain
12 : 00 PM - 14/02/2018
Manama, Feb. 14 (BNA): Bahrain today celebrates the 17th Anniversary of the National Action Charter (NAC), a far-reaching document that transformed the country and was approved almost unanimously by Bahraini men and women in the February 14, 2001 referendum.

The NAC represented an outstandingly advanced step in the kingdom’s political reform process, spearheaded by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to consolidate constitutional institutions in the country and meet the aspirations of the Bahraini people for further development and progress in various fields.

Following the adoption of the NAC by a 98.4 per cent majority, the amended Constitution, based on NAC principles, was issued in February 2002, firmly establishing a state of constitutional institutions.

The National Action Charter, drafted by some of the brightest figures in all areas in Bahrain in December 2000, is based on key principles.

Goals and basis of Government

The NAC affirms that the goal of government is to protect the country, maintain national unity and achieve comprehensive, sustainable development in the political, socioeconomic, cultural and other fields. It stresses that justice is the basis of government, and that equality, rule of law, liberty, security, peace, education, social solidarity and equal opportunities are all core principles of the society ensured by the state.

Protection of individual freedoms and equality

The NAC affirms that individual freedoms, quality, justice and equal opportunities are essential principles and the state shoulders the responsibility of ensuring them for all citizens on an equal footing.
In this regard, the NAC highlights the following principles:
All citizens are equal before the law in terms of rights and duties, without distinction on the basis of race, origin, language, religion or belief.
Personal liberty is ensured under the rule of law. Unless according to procedure established by the law and under judicial supervision, no person is arrested, detained in custody, searched or put under house arrest, restricted residence or movement.
No person is in any way subjected to any kind of physical or moral torture, or inhumane, humiliating or indignant treatment.
Any confession or statement obtained under torture, threats or coercion is null and void. In particular, an accused is not subjected to any physical or moral harm. Law ensures punishment of those who commit an offense of torture or a physically or psychologically harmful act.
An offense and punishment for the same is established only by law. No person is convicted of any offence except for violation of a law in force at the time of the act charged as an offence is committed.
Punishment is individual. An accused person remains innocent until convicted in a fair trial in which all guarantees are provided with a view to ensuring to an accused person the right to defence throughout investigation and prosecution under law. A person accused of a felony has the right to be defended by a lawyer of his choice. The right to litigation is ensured under law.
Places of residence are inviolable. Unless authorised by its legal occupants, no place of residence is entered or searched. However, in case such an entry or search is deemed extremely necessary by way of exception, such an entry or search may be carried out in cases specified by law and under judicial supervision.
Personal correspondence is inviolable and secret. Mail, cable, telephone, electronic and other correspondence are protected. Save in cases where law deems it necessary, and subject to judicial supervision, such correspondence is not censored or inspected.

Freedom of belief

According to NAC, the state ensures freedom of belief. Freedom of conscience is absolute. The state maintains inviolability of houses of worship and guarantees freedom to practice religious rites according to considered customs of the land.

Freedom of expression and publishing

NAC stipulates that "every citizen shall have the right to express themselves orally, in writing or in any other way of expression of personal opinion or creativity. Under this principle, freedom of scientific research, publishing, press and printing is ensured within the scope specified by law."

Civil Society Activities

With a view to enabling the society to make use of all civil capabilities and activities, the state ensures the freedom to form non- governmental, scientific, cultural, professional associations and unions at a national level for legitimate purposes through peaceful means under terms and conditions as may be prescribed by law. No one can be forced to join an association or union or to remain a member.

Separation of Powers

With a view to consecrating a stable democracy, the NAC stipulatesthat the government system is based on the separation of powers, i.e. the separation of, and cooperation among, the three branches namely, the legislature, the executive and the judiciary as set forth in the constitution.

Rule of Law and Independence of the Judiciary

The NAC affirms that the government in Bahrain is based on the rule of law. The independence and immunity of the judiciary are two key guarantees for protecting rights and freedom.


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