Official Launch of First Ombudsman for Police, Prisons, and Detention Facilities in the GCC

Nov 24, 2013

Manama, July 2, 2013 : Bahrain’s Ombudsman was officially launched today during an opening ceremony that was held by the Ombudsman, Mr Nawaf Al Maawdah, where high ranking government officials, diplomats, and ministers, including the Minister of Interior, His Excellency Lieutenant-General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa.

In his speech Mr Al Maawdah asserted that the main function of the Ombudsman is to review and investigate written or oral complaints by people to whom misconduct of any kind has been committed to them, or have witnessed happened to others, by any member of the ministry of interior in the course of performing his or her duties. He added that the Ombudsman is an independent secretariat, financially and administratively, in the Ministry of Interior established to ensure compliance with professional standards of policing set forth in the Code of Conduct for the Police, as well as in the administrative regulations governing the performance of civil servants. The Ombudsman in Bahrain, the very first of its kind in the GCC, has already established an independent office with a separate budget. He also stated that the Ombudsman assumes its authority and mission in full independence with respect to the complaints it receives against any civilian or public security personnel in the Ministry of Interior for alleged criminal offense because of, during or as result of their scope of responsibilities.

The Minister of Interior, HE Lieutenant-General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, also spoke at the event. He welcomed the establishment of the ombudsman, and emphasized the importance of an independent oversight body. He also stated that the establishment of the Ombudsman is a continuation of the reform process Bahrain been undergoing. He also underlined that ensuring accountability is core principle and ingrained in the police training process.

For his part, the Deputy Ombudsman, Mr Osama Al Asfoor, stated that the Ombudsman informs the competent authority in the Ministry of Interior to take disciplinary act ion against violators employed by the ministry. It also informs the public prosecutor in the cases that constitute criminal offenses. It updates both the complainant and the defendant about the steps taken to investigate the complaints and the conclusions of the investigations.

He also emphasized that it operates within a general framework that includes respect for human rights and the consolidation of justice, the rule of law and the public confidence, in line with Recommendation 1717 and Recommendation 1722 Paragraph (d) in the report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI). Mr Al Osfoor also added that the Ombudsman would help in increasing transparency between the people of Bahrain and the government, and to seek truth and justice more accurately and efficiently.

A complaint to the Ombudsman can be made by either sending a complaint electronically to the website of the Ombudsman www.ombudsman.bh , by physically being present at the headquarters of the Ombudsman in the case of a complaint that is accepted directly by the Ombudsman, or by sending a completed form by post to P.O. Box 23452, Kingdom of Bahrain.