Regarding the Dec. 21 news story “New realities after a revolution”:
A month ago, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) published its report on unrest in Bahrain and the government’s response to it. In an unprecedented act, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa shared the platform with the commission’s chairman, Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni, as Mr. Bassiouni delivered a stinging criticism of the government.
Immediately after the report’s release, King Hamad committed the government to pursue an aggressive path of reform and reconciliation. He established a national commission to study the report and propose actions the government should take in response. The commission must complete its work by the end of February. But one vocal political group, the al-Wefaq Islamic Society, continues to decline to participate in the commission. If al-Wefaq remains outside this process, it will lose another opportunity to play a constructive role in the reconciliation process.
In one month, we can point to remarkable progress. Bahrain signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Committee of the Red Cross. This will permit the Red Cross to visit Bahraini prisons and empower it to hold training courses on human rights and international humanitarian law.
All cases related to deaths, torture and inhumane treatment by members of the police have been referred to the public prosecutor. To ensure proper interrogations, video cameras have been ordered installed in all detention centers.
The job of democracy is never finished, and our invitation to the world to watch us and help us as we meet the challenges of this era remains open.
Houda Nonoo, Washington
The writer is Bahrain’s ambassador to the United States.