Bahrain issued a new code of conduct for police officers force requiring adherence to 10 principles, including limited use of force and zero tolerance toward torture and mistreatment, the Information Affairs Agency said today.
The Interior Ministry code, recommended by an independent international commission that investigated possible human-rights abuses during the February-March 2011 protests, states that officers must show respect for human dignity and make arrests in accordance with international standards. It forbids the use of force “except when absolutely necessary,” state-run IAA said.
“This code of conduct represents a new social treaty between members of Bahraini society and the police which will mark the start of a new era and a correct path to building bridges of confidence between the united Bahraini society and the police, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said in the statement.
A new Internal Affairs Department being established within the Interior Ministry will be responsible for disciplinary reviews, as well as overseeing the new code, according to the statement.
Last year’s mass protests, led by Bahrain’s Shiite majority, included demands for democracy and equal rights from the Sunni monarchy, leading to a crackdown by security forces in which troops from neighboring Saudi Arabia, also ruled by Sunnis, were called in to help.
At least 35 people were killed during the rallies and an ensuing crackdown through April last year, the independent commission has said. Tensions in the island nation have simmered in Shiite areas throughout the past year.