Relations with International Organizations:
From indifference to interaction
Why is the Bahrain Human Rights Monitor very eager for the Bahraini
Government to maintain a good relationship with international human
right organizations? A subject we have always raised and is noted
by the Bahrain Monitor’s readers.
Improving Bahrain’s relations with these organizations is not
only important for the country’s reputation but is also an important
step towards developing human rights in Bahrain. These organizations
have the expertise and experiences which can be used to avoid future
mistakes and violations. It is essential that all citizens should
feel proud, free and dignified when obtaining their rights. The
political and economic situation in any country affects the individuals’
sense of identity and pride.
However, some view the work of International Human Rights organisations
in a negative light; and are therefore not inclined towards working
with them. Rather, they see such work as a danger to the sovereignty
of Bahrain. Their general idea is that the statements and reports
of these organisations are biased and do not appreciate Government
efforts, thus we should not respond to them, or deal with them,
as the response may give them the status they do not deserve. This
view is not only inaccurate but will ?ot benefit the country especially
if the Government continues to undermine the power and position
of these bodies. The Bahraini Government should deal and cooperate
with these organisations effectively and respond to their inquiries.
Ignoring their reports reflects a weakness in logic and will increase
the level of international criticism and could result in more pressure.
Failing to respond to their criticism gives credibility to human
rights organisations. Even if some of what is published is inaccurate
and exaggerated, the solution wouldn’t be by ignoring or not replying
but rather by taking note, stating the facts and presenting the
official perspective and vision. .Of course, these organisations
will take into consideration the official responses and will include
them in their statements.
There could be other reasons why those overseeing the human right
file in the Government refuse to cooperate with these organisations,
these may include the following:
Firstly: The general feeling that working with them is useless
as it is not possible to change their stance. Communication is also
seen as a difficulty as continued work with them is needed to produce
an effect. Some may think that a single session, or replying to
letters, will change their position significantly. This does not
happen. This work is a cumulative one and influence is attained
by continuous interactions, and even if this change is not accomplished,
perhaps the relationship itself would ease ?he escalation and antagonism
which reflects negatively on the human rights situation.
Secondly: The feeling that it is difficult to defend specific
human rights cases and therefore it is better not to respond. This
is an inaccurate understanding of the objectives of the relationship
with these bodies. The purpose of such relations is to understand
and address the reasons behind the occurrence of violations and
not to present excuses and justifications for mistakes. Also, all
efforts should be concentrated on the human rights infrastructure
including legislations, mechanism and human rights?institutions.
Moreover, denying the occurrence of violations should stop, and
be replaced with correcting information and providing evidence.
Thirdly: The lack of relevant information that could answer the
questions raised by Human Rights Organisations. This is the reason
why responses are often delayed. The bureaucratic system complicates
communication and responding. Occasionally, the information exists
but presenting it in an acceptable human rights language is difficult
due to a shortage in competent workers.
Fourthly: The lack of knowledge of the system and the methods
Human Rights Organisations adopt in their work and of how best to
interact with them in order to establish a mutual understanding
and a better relationship.