Bahrain Human Rights Monitor:
Calls for Objective and Calm Dealing with HRW’s Report
Within the context of different views in Bahrain and abroad,
and different reactions about the report of Human Rights Watch (HRW)
recently issued on 08 February 2010, the Bahrain Human Rights Monitor
(BHRM) calls upon all parties concerned to deal with the report
with the requisite objectivity and not be hasty in making judgments.
The BHRM also calls upon the relevant parties in Bahrain to undertake
an extensive and thorough study of the report; form a committee
to look into allegations of torture containe? in the report; and
address such allegations if proved.
Following a careful reading, the BHRM can make the following
- The report came after a very short time of launching HRW’s annual
report in Dubai in the last week of January this year. This does
not seem normal to the observer of the work of international human
rights organizations. But objectivity requires us to consider it
as a matter of coincidence that does not happen very often, and
thus dealing with the report in good faith because HRW, though does
not have much of the information on Bahrain, is not an enemy of
Bahrain or human rights.
- The report came as a result of a visit by HRW to Bahrain in June
2009 lasted about two weeks, and the Bahraini government allowed
them access to interview whoever they want to interview without
restrictions or censorship. HRW also met with a few human rights
activists and human rights organizations in Bahrain. HRW was even
allowed to familiarize themselves with many documents and records
of the Bahraini courts, public prosecutor’s office and security
forces. HRW also examined the medical reports in relatio? to complaints
of ill-treatment. This positive development should be built upon.
This point is in favour of the Government of Bahrain, which seemed
more confident in dealing with the human rights file, and more willing
to deal seriously with international organizations and allowing
them to contribute positively to correct and draw lessons from past
- There is need to build on the objective and calm reply of the
Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa related to Bahrain’s
obligation to consider the allegations raised in the report and
referring them to the relevant authorities to take the necessary
- On the other hand there is need for HRW to be patient until receiving
the Bahraini government’s response to its legitimate questions.
There is no doubt that the Government of Bahrain was late in submitting
their answers to some questions, and Bahrain should be aware that
the delay for any reason it is not useful. The clarification of
the facts about human rights issues, and trying to address the shortcomings
with the formal and informal institutions, should be the end. This
requires the Government to speed?up the creation of a mechanism
to respond to international organizations within specific period
- The Bahrain Government, as well as civil society organizations,
should be keen to meet human rights organizations visiting Bahrain.
Furthermore, the relevant official bodies should provide the necessary
assistance to such organization to facilitate their missions and
tasks. This approach will help visiting organizations to meet a
broad spectrum of relevant actors, and to form a general picture
of the situation closer to reality, as well as to provide information
for research purposes.
- BHRM also thinks that Bahraini human rights organizations can
carry out its functions through a mechanism that meets periodically
to discuss the latest developments in the field of human rights
in Bahrain for protection and promotion purposes. Such a mechanism
would invite a government official each time to discuss a specific
human rights case in order to find solutions.
- Finally, BHRM considers that the time has come to designate the
members of the National Foundation for Human Rights to commence
its work, being the best place to deal with such reports.