The Kingdom of Bahrain: The Pearl of the Arabian Gulf

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Abstract:

The word ‘Bahrain’ in Arabic means ‘two seas’. Bahrain is located with in 20 miles of the eastern industrial province of Saudi Arabia, and is approximately 30 miles to the west of Qatar, 270 miles southwest of Kuwait and 270 miles north-west of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). On 14th August 1971, Bahrain became a fully independent sovereign State ending its, dependence on Britain in matters of defense and foreign affairs. Prior to independence, Bahrain was ruled by the Amir (Ruler) and the Council of State. The Council of State was composed of 12 members who headed the 12 Departments of the State. The Council of State was delegated administrative, executive and semi legislative powers. The Council of State was given cabinet status by an Amiri Decree issued on 15th August 1971.

The President of Council became the Prime Minister. The Amir authorized his Council of Ministers in 1972 to work on presenting a draft Constitution for the State. For this purpose a Constituent Assembly consisting of 22 members to be elected by Universal secret suffrage and not more than 10 members nominated by a decree were constituted. The Constituent Assembly thus elected and nominated, completed its work in June 1973 and the Amir on 6th December 1973 finally ratified the Constitution.

The legal system of the Kingdom of Bahrain is the culmination of the entire economic, social political and cultural factors representing the Arab region. The 1973 Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain lays down the political and legal foundations of the State, defines the functions of the State organs and provides for the separation of powers between the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. Islam is the religion of the State and Islamic Shariah (Islamic Law) is a main source of legislation and Arabic is official language of the State. The citizens are entitled to participate in public affairs and enjoy political rights. The Constitution recognizes and guarantees the protection of basic fundamental human rights to its citizens. Art.18 of the Constitution provides that ‘people are equal in human dignity and citizens shall be equal in public rights and duties before the law, without discrimination as to race, origin, language religion or belief. Right to personal liberty, prohibition of the extradition of political refugees, freedom of speech and the right to express and propagates one's opinion in words or in writing, freedom of the press, printing and publication and freedom to form associations and trade unions on a national basis are guaranteed under the Constitution.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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