How should we understand the causes of
concern for human rights
The relations between Bahrain and human rights organizations
can be described as very tense especially during these recent months.
This is due to the restrictions and new procedures that the Bahraini
authority has imposed on the visits of representatives of these
organizations to Bahrain. The Bahraini Government believes that
the statements and reports of these organizations show bias and
an unjustified level of hostility towards it. And although it is
true that the Government was strongly criticised by bo?h official
institutions and international organizations, the King’s decision
to establish Bassiouni’s fact finding committee, accept its findings
and commit to implementing its recommendations was also appreciated
by many international parties and contributed to improving Bahrain’s
image. However, these steps once again drew attention towards the
level of the Government’s commitment to implementing all of Bassiouni’s
The descending of a great number of human rights organizations
on Bahrain after Bassiouni’s report and their increased criticisms
shocked the Bahraini authorities and drove them to resort to special
procedures in order to stop what they saw as breaches by these organizations.
Human rights organizations were also surprised as they expected
that they would be more than welcome especially after Bahrain’s
adoption of Bassiouni’s recommendations. But in fact the Bahraini
authorities became more suspicious of ?isitors and monitors and
these organizations found themselves forced to get information from
other sources which may have some political motives.
It should be noted that human rights play a major part in international
politics today. The role and impact of international organizations
on public opinion, decision makers, parliaments and the UN has become
Organizations such as Amnesty and HRW enjoy a great deal of credibility
in the international arena due to their high professional level,
to the extent that their reports have become an important reference
for western Governments and parliaments and a crucial guide on how
to deal with human rights issues all over the world. An example
of such importance is that both the British Foreign Office and the
House of Commons often quote and use excerpts from these organization’s
publications in their annual and periodic reports. The important
status enjoyed by the international human rights organisations has
led almost all countries to follow the path of cooperation with
them and to provide them with information that would help in forming
a more complete picture of any situation. Human rights organisations’
criticism of the human rights situation in Bahrain reflects a concern
towards specific issue?. These issues require effort and should
become a priority in government policy. This can be achieved by
cooperating with international organisations including the OHCHR
and not confronting or ignoring them.
The real reason behind the concerns of international bodies is
the lack of any information on a tangible Bahraini effort towards
tackling the raised issues. The international reports have also
been dealt with carelessly by the Bahraini Government and not appreciated.
This attitude can be attributed to the fact that the Bahraini Government
feels that these reports seem to be unjustifiably hostile towards
it. This led the Government to place restrictions on its cooperation
with international human rights or?anisations including the imposition
of restrictions on delegation visits to Bahrain.
The following are the cases which represent a major concern to
international bodies which necessitate that the Government clarify
its position by issuing a detailed statement supported by legal
evidence in line with international standards:
The trials regarding 21 detainees accused of conspiring to overthrow
the regime who in the eyes of international organisations are prisoners
of conscience due to the lack of criminalising evidence.
The case regarding the medical professionals which continues
despite the fact that half of them have been found to be innocent
The issue regarding holding those accused of torture and the
ill treatment of detainees accountable and bringing them to justice.
Also the nature of the legal, institutional and administrative procedures
in place to prevent impunity. It is also important to note that
there is a general impression that violations are still occurring
during confrontations with protesters. The Public Prosecutor accused
15 security men of torture related charges and there are ongoing
cases of the same sort.
The restrictions that some human rights activists are facing.
International human right organisations believe that they have been
targeted and that the Government has hitherto failed to present
any criminal evidence to convict them.
The issue relating to compensating the victims of the recent
events. The Government of Bahrain on 26 June 2012, stated that it
would compensate the families of 17 individuals who were killed
during the unrest of last year with 2.6 million dollars.
The lack of government policies that incorporate all Bahraini
diverse social segments in government institutions.
The delay in the reconstruction of religious sites which were
demolished last year.
The lack of progress in the issue of national reconciliation.
The independence, impartiality and balance of the official media
and guaranteeing that it accommodates all sides.
These are the main issues which concern international human rights
organisations and will remain the focal points of tension until
they are resolved. Efforts should not be wasted on trivial matters
and should be directed towards finding an internal settlement to
the most pressing issues within the framework of international human