Manama: Abdul Aziz Abul, a former MP and a sitting member of the Shura Council, has been elected the new head of Bahrain’s National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR).
He ran unopposed for the post as the watchdog, founded in 2009 by a royal order, is re-launched under a new structure to give it more dynamics.
Abdullah Al Durazi, a rights activist who long campaigned with the Bahrain Human Rights Society, was elected vice-chair.
Al Durazi was also voted in as the head of the committee in charge of grievances, monitoring and follow-up while Jameela Salman was elected chair of the committee of civil and political rights and Fawzia Al Saleh head of the economic, social and cultural committee.
Ahmad Farhan was re-elected secretary-general of the institution for a four-year term.
The watchdog said that it would hold its first regular meeting on February 27.
King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa in January ordered the restructuring of the NIHR and reduced its members from 20 to nine. Four of its members are women, including a Christian.
Ahmad Al Saati, Jameela, Maria Khouri, May Al Utaibi, Abdul Jaber Al Tayyeb, Al Durazi, Aziz Abul, Fawzia and Fareed Gazi were appointed following a flurry of consultations “to give it the institution greater dynamics in addressing human rights issues.”
When it was set up, the NIHR was led by Salman Ali Kamaluddeen, the former deputy president of Bahrain Human Rights Society, who was appointed to his position.
Under the new structure the members had the prerogative to elect the chairman and the vice-chairman.