BHRM: Khawaja’s Accusations are Unfounded

A report was issued by the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights last November entitled ‘Fake Organizations and Human Rights Activists’ by Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, in which he accused the Bahrain Human Rights Monitor (BHRM) of misleading public opinion and attempting to monopolize human rights organizations and human rights defenders. The report considered the BHRM a fake institution which conducts fake human rights activities in an attempt to mislead public opinion and international human rights organizations. It was published in both English and Arabic on two human rights websites, which makes it incumbent upon the BHRM to respond to these claims.

The BHRM has previously clarified its position and activities, and both the Monitor and its staff are above being a government product as the report claimed, and BHRM also refuses these cheap insults and accusations. The activities of the BHRM are always aimed at developing human rights in Bahrain, and strive to promote and encourage the presence of international organizations in Bahrain so that they are better informed of the reality of human rights in the country. BHRM also works hard to constantly urge officials to fulfill all their local and international human rights commitments through the implementation of signed agreements.

The material published by the BHRM is not propaganda, and does not attempt to cover up human rights violations as is clear from our public statements and newsletters. This includes monitoring the development and analytical material of human rights issues which are intertwined with the political situation. The BHRM and its staff have never sided against a particular human rights group, for their mission is not to initiate confrontations or search out mistakes. This is despite the fact the BHRM has reservations regarding the activities of some groups, but prefers not to disclose them, and refuses to be drawn into arguments with the Centre about the waves of accusations and rumours. The BHRM always strives to present its points of view to the public with a great deal of respect and wisdom.

The President of the BHRM, who was for years subjected to constant attacks by the Centre and its officials, despite the fact that he is one of the Centre’s founders, and for years and since 1990 worked with its former president Abdulhadi Khawaja, before his resignation in protest against the Centre’s deviation from the objectives stated in its own bylaws. Hasan Moosa Shafaie did not want to respond to these accusations out of self-respect and his criticisms have been limited to three main issues: the politicization of human rights activities, the blatant support for violence and the use of sectarian discourse. However, the Centre, particularly in its last report , has exceeded all ethical and humane limits, ignoring the fact that Mr. Shafaie is a human rights defender, and accused the BHRM of bribing others and trying to gain legitimacy from the way it presents its activities. We wish to add here that any human rights institution gains credibility from its publications, the goals it strives for, the verification of its information, being objective and adhering to human rights standards, and not from filing accusations and fabricating disputes with opponents. Ironically, the activities conducted by the BHRM are those which the Centre itself should have engaged in according to its bylaws. But unfortunately, the Centre did not commit itself to them, and instead involved itself in political agendas which have transformed the Centre into a political party with a fake human rights cover. Many international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, the OMCT and the International Federation are well informed of all the activities of the BHRM and its founder and of the advisory role of some of his activities with regards to official human rights missions, which make the accusations leveled against him clearly unfounded.