National Action Charter, 2002 Constitution confirm legitimacy of Bahraini women’s rights

Manama, February 13 (BNA): The status of women in every society is the basic criterion for their interaction with the requirements of modern life, including democratic values, respect for citizenship, and support for human rights issues.

The National Action Charter and the 2002 constitution affirmed the legitimacy of women’s rights. The amendments made in 2002 to the 1973 Constitution emphasized the importance of achieving the principle of equality between all citizens without any discrimination in rights and duties on the basis of gender, origin, language, religion or belief, which strengthened the role of women in development. march and legitimize her.

The amendments to the 2002 constitution came as a result of the national dialogue in which all segments of Bahraini society participated, which was launched by His Majesty King Hamad through the issuance of Emiri Decree No. 36 on November 22, 2000 regarding the formation of the National Council. The Preparatory Committee for the Labor Charter, and it consists of 46 members, including six women, who represented the women in the dialogue.

Women played a decisive role in the meetings of the Preparatory Committee and the general referendum held on February 14 and 15, 2001. The referendum was approved by 98.4%, with female citizens representing 49%. The huge participation of women reflected their positive response to their new role in the new political life in the Kingdom.

After approving the National Action Charter by an overwhelming majority, His Majesty King Hamad issued, on February 14, 2001, Royal Decree No. 6 of 2001 establishing the “Activation of the National Action Charter Authority” authorizing the review of all national laws and proposing the necessary amendments and mechanisms to implement the National Action Charter.

The Commission was formed pursuant to Cabinet Resolution No. (15) of 2001, headed by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, with 16 members, including female lawyers. After a year of hard work and constant meetings, the amended constitution was promulgated on February 14, 2002, incorporating several principles that clearly enhance the role of women in society.

Constitutional guarantees of women’s rights:

The Kingdom’s constitution stipulates that all citizens are equal before the law in rights and duties, and guarantees the protection of maternity and family members. It also affirms the state’s support for women’s rights and equality with men in all fields, including politics. Most importantly, the 2002 constitution recognized the rights of both men and women to exercise political rights – the only Arab constitution to contain such a clause.

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1. Guaranteeing the Right to Equality:

The amended constitution of 2002 included provisions explicitly affirming the equality of citizens regardless of their gender, origin, language or belief, a principled recognition of equality that reinforces the values ​​of citizenship and democracy and makes citizens equal before the law in both. duties and rights. Article 4 states that “freedom, equality, security, trust, knowledge, social solidarity and equal opportunities among citizens are pillars of society guaranteed by the state.” Article (18) also stipulates that “People are equal in human dignity, and citizens are equal before the law in public rights and duties, and there is no discrimination between them in that on the grounds of gender, origin, language, religion or belief.” Likewise, paragraph (b) of Article 5. ) which states that “the state guarantees their equality (for women) with men in the political, social, cultural and economic fields, in a manner that does not conflict with the provisions of Islamic Sharia.” Publicly affirming the equality of men and women in all fields.

Besides, constitutional equality emphasized the principles of citizenship, and made all holders of Bahraini citizenship equal before the law in rights and duties. Article (17) stipulates that “the Bahraini nationality is determined by law, and it is not permissible to strip a person who enjoys by nature of his Bahraini nationality, except in the case of treason, and in other cases stipulated by law.”

These articles, which laid the foundations of the principle of equality among all citizens, will be the basis of all state decisions and laws. Therefore, it will affect women directly and indirectly.

Based on these articles, we can draw the following observations:

The law recognizes the principle of equality, which lays the foundations for citizenship and paves the way for real democratic practices that allow women to obtain their rights, either directly by enabling them to enjoy them, or indirectly by creating appropriate conditions for that. take place.

The constitution considered Islam as the basis for achieving equality between men and women, which has a major significance: the importance of reconciling Islamic values ​​and social culture, as the best way to increase popular acceptance of the rights granted to women, in addition. To the awareness of the political leadership of the Kingdom of Islamic teachings that guarantee women the right to enjoy equal rights.

Recognizing the principle of equal opportunities as a basis for exercising social, political and economic rights.

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The constitution stipulates that citizens are equal in duties and rights, which motivates women to exert more efforts and participate more effectively in public affairs.

The Constitution considers that human dignity requires that all people be treated equally regardless of their differences, which means that the dignity of men depends on their respect for women, and vice versa.

– The constitution stipulates the strengthening of the law through judicial institutions that guarantee justice and equality between men and women.

– The constitution made the triptych of freedom, equality and security basic pillars that complement each other, making recognition of equality between men and women meaningless if society does not accept women’s freedom or life in insecurity.

– The constitution grants immunity to what they consider to be the foundations of the system of government as stipulated in paragraph (c) of Article (120), which states that “in no case may it be proposed to amend the dual system. The principles of freedom and equality stipulated in this constitution.”

2. The right to political participation:

The 1973 constitution did not grant women their political rights, as the principles of equality between “citizens” were considered to be restricted to men. However, the 2002 constitution guaranteed the political rights of women, both as electors and as candidates. According to paragraph (e) of Article (1), “Citizens, both men and women, shall have the right to participate in public affairs and to enjoy political rights, including the right to vote and to stand for election, in accordance with this Constitution and the conditions and principles established by law.”

The above article allows women to participate in public affairs, including political affairs, directly and openly. The significance of this is twofold. The first is that women not only participate in voting, but also standing for parliamentary and municipal elections, which requires them to bring up and debate public issues and laws, review the work of government programs, and take responsibility for planning local policies. As for the second, the constitution granted women political rights in general, which means that they are not limited to rights related to elections only, but also include acquiring political knowledge, joining political associations, among other things that fall under the political sphere.

3- The right to work:


The constitution guarantees all Bahraini citizens the right to work and participate in all economic activities without discrimination, allowing women to participate in the production process within their community, as set out in paragraph (b) of Article 16, which affirms that “citizens are equal in holding public office. under the conditions laid down by law. The conditions were described in Article (13) as follows:

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Work is the duty of every citizen, dictated by his personal dignity and dictated by the public interest. Every citizen has the right to work and to choose the type of work within the limits of public order and public morals.

– The state guarantees the provision of job opportunities for citizens and the fairness of working conditions.

It is not permissible to impose compulsory work on anyone except in the cases specified by law for national necessity and in return for a fair wage or in implementation of a court ruling.

The law regulates the relationship between workers and employers on an economic basis, taking into account social justice.

Therefore, it is clear that the Constitution allows all citizens, both men and women, to participate in economic activities, whether as employers or as workers, within the framework of full legal equality.

Moreover, the constitution does not ignore the social and family obligations of women as a mother and wife, and provides guarantees that will enable her to strike a balance between her work and her family, which will solve a problem that has always prevented women from joining the labor market.

4. Right to Education:

Article 7 of the constitution states that “the state sponsors the sciences, humanities, and arts, and encourages scientific research. The state also guarantees educational and cultural services to citizens. Education is compulsory and free in its early stages as specified and established by law. The law lays down the necessary plan to combat illiteracy.

– The law regulates the sponsorship of religious and national education in the stages and forms of education and in all its stages. It also develops citizens’ personality and pride in their Arab identity.

Individuals and bodies may establish private schools and universities under the supervision of the state and in accordance with the law.

The state guarantees the sanctity of places of learning.

The above article proves that the constitution guarantees education for all citizens in the Kingdom without exception or discrimination, which is another manifestation of the principle of equality adopted as a basis for exercising the political, economic and social rights guaranteed by the constitution to all. Bahrainis.

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