Justice Minister Emphasizes the Role of the Office of the Ombudsman in Bahrain in Promoting Human Rights
Nawaf bin Mohammed Al Maawda, the Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs, and Endowments, reaffirmed that the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman in Bahrain was a crucial step in the kingdom’s commitment to institutionalizing efforts aimed at safeguarding human rights and upholding the principles of justice and the rule of law.
This commitment has been reinforced through a series of executive measures that have positioned Bahrain among leading nations in respecting human rights values and principles, making it a trailblazer at both the regional and Arab levels. He further asserted that Bahrain’s strategy for human rights respects ensures the full rights of its citizens and residents within the overarching framework of development led by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, with the strong support of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister.
Minister Al Maawda made these statements during his address at the opening ceremony of the international conference organized by the Office of the Ombudsman, themed “The Effectiveness of Ombudsman within the Institutional Work and Their Role in Promoting Respect for Human Rights,” commemorating its 10th anniversary.
Ministers, heads of national government agencies, leaders of ombudsman offices from around the world, and representatives from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Arab countries are participating in this two-day conference.
The Justice Minister extended his congratulations to Ghada Hameed Habib, the Ombudswoman, for being the first woman to hold this position. He also congratulated all the directors and staff of Bahrain’s Office of the Ombudsman on this milestone.
He underscored that the Office of the Ombudsman’s success over the past years is a source of pride, reflecting the gravity of its responsibility to fulfill its duties and enhance its capability to tackle the numerous challenges faced by all institutions, particularly those involved in the most critical values in individuals’ lives and societies: the principles of justice and equity.
Ombudswoman Ghada Hameed Habib pointed out that the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman in Bahrain is deeply rooted in the kingdom’s civilizational values, culminating in His Majesty the King’s comprehensive development initiative, supported by His Royal Highness the Crown Prince and Prime Minister.
She affirmed that this pioneering development initiative has opened up new horizons for progress and prosperity, while also strengthening the mechanism to handle human rights concepts and principles, making them an integral part of the state’s administrative system and values, rooted in the spirit of tolerance, peaceful coexistence, and a comprehensive national identity. This has resulted in a unique model for other offices to follow.
She noted that the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman, as part of a comprehensive democratic and developmental process, has represented a significant leap in the realm of human rights respect, aligning with international values and standards.
She also highlighted the Office’s commitment to adopting the best international practices in its field, including its membership in the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) and its role in founding the OIC Ombudsman Association (OICOA).
Ghada Hameed Habib expressed her gratitude to all those who contributed to the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman, paying special tribute to General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, the Interior Minister, Interior Ministry officials, Nawaf bin Mohammed Al Maawda, the first Ombudsman, Osama Ahmed Al Asfoor, the first Deputy Ombudsman, and all the Office’s staff for their dedication and professionalism.
E. Chris Field PSM, President of the International Ombudsman Institute and Western Australian Ombudsman, also addressed the opening ceremony. He expressed his delight at being part of the conference.
“The Ombudsman institution, wherever it exists in the world, seeks to champion principles that make our societies fairer and more successful. I thank the Ombudsman of the Kingdom of Bahrain for being a champion of these principles for a decade. Your institution epitomizes best practice modern Ombudsman principles and practice, all while continuing to celebrate the richness, diversity, and success of Bahraini culture and its long heritage,” said Mr. Field.
“As President of the International Ombudsman Institute, or IOI, I take this opportunity in the Kingdom of Bahrain to make two important commitments. Firstly, I commit to all Ombudsmen of Islamic nations, including the Ombudsman of Bahrain, that I will ensure the adoption of Arabic as an official language of the IOI. This step is central to my support as President for the great Islamic nations of the world. Secondly, I commit to increasing the yearly IOI subvention funding provided for the Asia Region of the IOI, of which the Ombudsman of Bahrain is a member, by doubling the current funding amount. This increase acknowledges that the Asia Region is the most populous in the world, with a significant number of Ombudsmen undertaking vital work,” he added.
Şeref Malko, Chief Ombudsman of the Republic of Türkiye and OICOA President, expressed gratitude to Bahrain’s Ombudsman’s Office for hosting the international conference and wished for its continued success.
In his speech, he highlighted the historical concept of the “Ombudsman” in Islamic history under various names, emphasizing the significant role that ombudsman offices play in achieving the best outcomes for society by establishing justice and fostering a strong relationship between the state and the public.
The opening ceremony included a documentary film showcasing the Office of the Ombudsman’s work and achievements over the past decade, particularly its role in serving the public and promoting respect for human rights across various fields within its purview.