Head of the Bahrain Human Rights Monitor in Geneva:

Meetings with International Officials to
Develop Human Rights

Hasan Moosa Shafaei, a human rights defender and Head of the Bahrain Human Rights Monitor (BHRM) met with several international human rights organisations and officials from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). These meetings took place in Geneva on 22-23 January 2009 to discuss the

Mr. Shafaei with Eric Sottas, Secretary General of OMCT, in Geneva
Head of BHRM meeting with Ann-Laurence Lacroix from OMCT
Haleema Dikhisy from OMCT with Hasan Shafaei
FIDH Executive Director Antoine Bernard, met with Head of BHRM, in Paris
Hasan Shafaei with Ian Seiderman and Said Benarabia in ICJ Headquarters, Geneva
human rights situations in Bahrain and the region. During his visit, Mr Shafaei met Mr. Adam AbdelMoula, Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa at OHCHR, and discussed with him the latest developments in Bahrain and the need to provide institutional support for the official Bahraini bodies as well as non-governmental organizations. This institutional support aims to improve their performance, enhance their compliance with international standards and develop local expertise to build a better human rights future in the Kingdom.

Mr. Shafaei also met with Ms. June Ray, Chief of the OHCHR Civil Society Unit, who has been a close observer of the human rights situation in Bahrain since the 1990s, when she was Director of the Middle East Section at Amnesty International. They discussed how Bahraini civil society organizations can benefit from the Civil Society Unit’s expertise and knowledge in order to increase their performance and enhance professionalism in the field of human rights.

Mr. Shafaei also met with Muhammed Abu Harthiya, a legal researcher in the Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism Section, at the Rule of Law and Democracy Unit, OHCHR. The two discussed possibilities of providing training and expertise to those involved in the application of law.

On the other hand, the head of BHRM met separately with three officials of OMCT (the World Organization Against Torture) at its International Secretariat. They are; Mr. Eric Sottas, Secretary General of the Organization, Ms. Anne-Laurence Lacroix, Deputy Secretary General and Ms. Haleema Dukaisi.

Considering Mr. Shafaei’s position as an independent advisor to OMCT for the Middle East and North Africa, the meetings discussed human rights issues related to Bahrain and the region. The meeting also discussed the defence of human rights activists, the importance of documenting the human rights situation in the region and other relevant issues.

OMCT, established in 1986 and based in Geneva, is currently one of the largest and most active human rights organizations at the international level. It has a large network of hundreds of human rights organizations of national and regional members. The Organization also has a good reputation. OMCT has consultative and observer status with the United Nations.

Mr. Shafaei also met with Ian Seiderman, Senior Legal & Policy Advisor of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and with Said Binarabia, the Commission's Legal Officer for the Middle East and North Africa. Discussions centred on transmitting the ICJ's experience to the human rights activists in Bahrain, as well as for those involved in the application of the law there.

It is worth mentioning that the International Commission of Jurists is a non- governmental organisation dedicated to promoting understanding and observance of the rule of law and providing legal protection for human rights all over the world. It has 85 national sections and affiliated organizations, and enjoys consultative status in the ECOSOC, UNESCO, the Council of European and the Organization of African Unity.

Finally, Shafi'i, met the Executive Director of the International Federation for Human Rights FIDH, Mr. Antoine Bernard, in the headquarters of the Federation in Paris. They discussed the recent developments of the human rights situation in Bahrain. FIDH is an international non-governmental organization dedicated to the defense of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It was established in 1922 and has 141 affiliates around the world.