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Bahrain News Database: 1
Lead – Empower – Deliver” to Combat AIDS:
Marking the 20th
Anniversary of World AIDS Day, a press conference was held at UN
House on 30th November 2008. The theme for this year’s World AIDS
Day is “Lead – Empower – Deliver”, building on last year’s theme of
“Take the Lead”.
The Government of Bahrain is the first of the GCC countries to
formulate a National Committee for the prevention of HIV/AIDS and to
adopt a multi-sectoral response to the epidemic. While AIDS levels
are currently low in Bahrain, actions to control its spread must be
Speaking at the press conference, Dr. Somaya Al Jowder, head of the
National Committee on AIDS Prevention, stated that although Bahrain
appeared to be winning the war on AIDS, it is difficult to get
information from the groups at risk or from the persons infected
with the disease, as there continues to be a stigma attached to the
subject. She added that 70 percent of AIDS cases in Bahrain were
transmitted through needle sharing by drug users, followed by
heterosexual contact and unprotected homosexual contact.
Although progress has been made in Bahrain, said Dr. Al Jowder, the
Committee still strives to ensure AIDS patients are given their full
rights. She stated further that the first anonymous AIDS testing
centre has opened in Bahrain.
Representing the UN Country Team, the Acting Resident Coordinator,
Dr.Habib El Habr, delivered the statement of the UN
Secretary–General Ban Ki-moon on the occasion of World AIDS Day, in
which he stated that AIDS infection rates were on the decline and
that this mirrors the dedication of the people all over the world to
take the lead to stop AIDS. “We have to end the stigma and
discrimination that still stop many people from learning how to
prevent HIV and get treatment. And we need resources”, the message
On the occasion, UN Development Programme Deputy Resident
Representative Firas Gharaibeh read out the statement of UNDP
administrator Kemal Dervis. The message highlighted this year’s
World Aids Campaign aimed at renewing the focus on the need for
universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support
Bahrain to Hold 1st International Conference on Universal Human
and enhancing the situation of Human Rights and building on its
increasingly strong partnership with the United Nations Human Rights
bodies, the Kingdom of Bahrain is convening a conference on
Comparative Universal Periodic Review (UPR) experiences in the field
of Human Rights.
In cooperation between Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UNDP,
the UN Human Rights Council, and the Office of High Commissioner for
Human Rights, the two-day conference will open at 10:00 a.m., 19
November 2008, at the Diplomat Radisson SAS Hotel, Manama.
Addressing mainly “Arab League” countries, this first Conference of
its kind aims at sharing best practices, identifying challenges
encountered and ways to tackle them while promoting good practices
in the Arab States region.
The conference is gaining regional and international momentum with
invited speakers from each continent, including the UK, Morocco,
South Africa, Philippines, Canada and Argentina. These speakers will
each share their country’s experiences in the UPR process.
Key speakers at the conference include the Deputy President of the
Human Rights Council, Ambassador Alberto J. Dumont, and Dr. Ebrahim
Salama, from the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights. Mr.
Patrick Van Weerlet, human rights advisor from UNDP New York, will
take part in the wrap up session of the conference.
Expected attendance includes all political societies and human
rights NGOs in Bahrain as well as concerned government bodies.
International human rights organizations such as Amnesty
International and Human Rights Watch are also expected to
Every Member State of the UN is to undergo "a universal periodic
review, based on objective and reliable information, of the
fulfillment by each state of its human rights obligations and
commitments". The Kingdom of Bahrain was the first country to
undergo the UPR by the Human Rights Council in May this year.
By hosting this conference, Bahrain is taking a measurable step in
creating dialogue between countries who have undergone the UPR
earlier this year and others yet to be reviewed; between members of
the UN Human Rights Council and other member states of the UN; and
between both governmental and nongovernmental national stakeholders
in the UPR process in Bahrain. It emphasizes the importance of
sharing experiences related to different stages of UPR processes
with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of the UPR.
Workshops on the UN Human Rights Based Approach:
UN Bahrain, in
cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human
Rights, and the Bahrain Human Rights Society, organized two training
workshops on the UN Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) to
Development on October 28 – 30, 2008. The workshops aimed to build
the capacities of local non-governmental organizations and political
societies and provided an opportunity to work with HRBA
methodologies and tools in a collective learning workshop. Both
workshops were facilitated by human rights officers Youla Haddadin,
OHCHR Geneva, and Nidal Jurdi, OHCHR Beirut.
The training sought to enhance the capacity of participants in
understanding the concept of the human rights-based approach as
elaborated in the 2003 UN Common Understanding on a Human
Rights-based Approach to Development Programming and to apply it in
the country programming context. It provided a foundation for
applying a human rights-based approach to development and a
reiteration of the basic concepts, terminology and common
understanding to be employed when implementing a human rights-based
approach to development.
Human rights principles would guide the participants for preparing
projects and programmes through the HRBA lens in all sectors such as
health, education, governance, HIV/AIDS, employment and labor
relations and social and economic security which also include
achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The workshops strengthened the capacity of participants in the
integration of human rights principles in all phases of the
project/programme development, including assessment and analysis,
programming planning and design, implementation, and monitoring
programmes given that Human Rights is a crosscutting issue in all
areas of project/programme development. An additional presentation
on applying HRBA to public budgeting was introduced to members of
The participatory and interactive approach adopted proved successful
with the participants who were engaged and enthusiastic and
expressed keen interest in further training.
Stand Up and Take Action:
As part of the
worldwide campaign on Stand Up and Take Action (SUTA) Against
Poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals, the UN family in
Bahrain, joined by Bahrain Training Institute colleagues and a UN
Humanitarian mission visiting from New York, gathered at UN House on
October 19, 2008 to show their commitment in support of this noble
campaign. The Stand Up and Take Action initiative is planned to
coincide with the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
This year, the call has gone out to governments to keep their
promises to achieve the Millennium Goals and to end extreme poverty
The staff of all UN Agencies in Bahrain joined together to stand up
against poverty. The pledge was read by all 30 participants in
unison in which all urged for “no more excuses – end poverty now.”
T-Shirts with the campaign logo were distributed to each staff and a
group photo was taken to be uploaded to the SUTA website. The event
at UN House was also documented through a video clip and will be
submitted to New York for their compilation.
More than 20,000 people in Bahrain participated in the UN campaign.
Campaigners at various schools, institutes and organizations showed
their commitment to the cause by pledging to take action against
poverty. The Bahrain campaign was mobilized by the UN information
Centre, Bahrain Training Institute, Al Shabeeba, and the Art of
Living. Participating individuals, schools, colleges and
organizations will plant and nurture 100,000 plants by July 2009.
More than 116 million people – nearly two percent of the world
population – stood up and committed to take action at events in 131
countries on October 17-19 as part of “Stand Up and Take Action.”
The mobilization, which was ratified by Guinness as breaking the
world record for the biggest mass mobilization on a single issue,
sends a clear message to world leaders that citizens will not stay
seated while promises to end poverty remain unfulfilled.