First and Foremost for the Sake of Human Rights:
|Hasan Moosa Shafaei
Defending ourselves and not the Government
Hasan Moosa Shafaei
It is for the benefit of human rights organizations and the rights
of the individual in Bahrain to deal with the human rights issue
away from politics, exaggeration, political intrigue and fabricated
and false news.
Why do we call for moving away from political alignment? Why
do we always urge for adopting a balanced and rational approach
and focusing on the human rights dimensions, without being bogged
down in battles which could even dismantle human rights organizations?
Why has the issue of Jaffar Ibrahim opened the file again, and caught
human rights activists off guard (and we are among them) surrounded
by accusation and questioning?
To take a strong stand against the errors made by human rights
activists does not mean being aligned with the Government, and does
not mean the defence of the mistakes committed or may be committed
in the future, but is basically in defence of the truth and in defence
of society’s rights and values that human rights organizations themselves
were established to defend.
Is it fair to mislead society with this false and fabricated
case initially? Or is it good for society to live in fear of a return
to street riots on the basis of information and accusations coming
from a person who was himself accused? Or have Bahraini human rights
organizations served the human rights cause of their citizens when
they attributed the assault incident to the innocent and incited
the public against the security services? And how can one human
rights organisation stand against human rights v?olations in its
homeland, and at the same time violate the human rights of others?
But what is the desired aim behind distorting the image of the
Government based on misleading information? Is there any benefit
for the people of Bahrain that their human rights organizations
lose their credibility before them and before international organizations?
If someone claimed that nothing has changed in Bahrain in areas
of reform, and another claimed that human rights violations still
exist on a large scale in the country, and we knew in advance that
this was not true, then where would those like to take us? Will
they lead us to anything other than frustration and violence?
Is this the best way to push for gradual reforms and develop
human rights in Bahrain?
The acceptance of unfair accusations against either the Government
or individuals is unfair and is a frustration to human rights activists.
It also closes the doors of development and reform, and turns the
issue of human rights into a merely political tool that has nothing
to do with the development of human rights.
The issue is not related to the Government, but is related to
the human rights organisations themselves. They must maintain ethics
of the profession to a larger degree and adhere to the standards
of justice in dealing with human rights issues. Therefore, the public
dissemination of inaccurate and misleading information regardless
of who the accused are and the concealment of correct information,
regardless of who the beneficiaries are, does not benefit the human
rights project in Bahrain.
Assuming that some Bahraini human rights organizations consider
the Government as an opponent, it is in line with honesty with oneself
and respect for justice to be fair with the opponent, instead of
hiding their merits and highlighting all their vices and wrongdoings
(whether true or false).
Bahrain has changed, even if some of us do not recognize this
fact. We may differ in assessing the magnitude of this change in
the fields of human rights, politics and others. As long as the
majority of people want reform and encourage it, let us therefore
respect the current realities and build on them for a better future.
If the Government kills, detains and tortures at the slightest accusation,
and prisons were filled with prisoners without justification, perhaps
some may find excuse to disseminate mis?eading rumours. But otherwise,
when there is not one political prisoner or prisoner of conscience,
and with the existence of a political process despite its shortcomings,
and with the Government insisting on continuing what they see as
a reform project; as long as this is the case, it is wrong to mislead
ourselves and consider the current situation a continuation of the
Living in the past prevents one from recognising changes in the
present, and can therefore easily compromise what has been achieved
Anyone can concentrate on Government errors in various fields,
and there are dozens of specialized civil society organizations
able to do so. But let us distance ourselves from exaggerated and
fabricated news. Let us distance ourselves from the politicization
of otherwise ‘normal’ events and from portraying positive aspects
as negative ones. In a nutshell this is not in the interest of human
rights organizations, and not in the interest of human rights in