Different Opinions on International
Human Rights Organizations

International reports on Bahrain continue to express grave concern regarding the developments in the country. These reports are perceived differently by political activists and officials, as reflected in the local Bahraini newspapers:

1/ criticism and conditional cooperation: some say that international human rights organizations are biased and have their own agenda to escalate the situation by giving the opposition the opportunity to distort the image of the Government. This group of people believe that cooperation with these organizations should be linked to their position towards Bahrain.

On 26 April 2011, the Minister of Social Development Fatima Al Balushi responded to Amnesty International’s Briefing Paper entitled ‘Bahrain Human Rights Crisis’. She deeply regretted the release of the Paper despite deep concern about its objectivity and neutrality, which was evident in the refusal of Amnesty’s delegate to meet with groups who were ready to answer questions regarding anti-government claims.

The Minister viewed the Briefing Paper as a good example of pre-prepared allegations without attempting to verify their credibility, accuracy, or to investigate other sources or viewpoints.

However, the Minister stressed that Bahrain is prepared to continue its cooperation with Amnesty International and reaffirmed that the Organisation is welcomed to visit Bahrain as often as necessary to discuss such matters.

2/ Criticism, accusation and refusal to cooperate: another opinion, which is adopted by some MPs, considers these organizations as political tools, and it is a waste of time to follow their demands since it will only disperse the efforts of government’ institutions. Furthermore, any clarifications provided by Government will be useless and will not change the position of such organizations and they will not refer to them in a balanced manner. Therefore, Bahrain should not listen and cooperate with these organisations and they should be prevented from visiting the country.

On 15/6/2011, MP Abdulrahman Bo Majeed strongly criticised the decision to allow the Assistant Secretary for State for Democracy and Human Rights and Labour, Michael Posner to visit Bahrain and said “we do not want foreign officials interfering in our internal affairs. Instead of aiding us to achieve national reconciliation, they escalate the situation. Posner meets whoever he wants, visits houses and interferes in the work of the Judiciary. Some treat Bahrain as if it is still a colony. What gives an American official the right to investigate our situation?. Which Governmental body is responsible for this? And who gave him this opportunity?” MP Adel Al Asomi also said: “How can an American official be allowed to enter the country and interrogate the people. We all know his intention and his allies.”

3/ improving cooperation: the third opinion says that regardless of the mistakes made by these international organizations and despite the shortcomings in their reports, they are influential institutions that should still be respected. Therefore, we must cooperate with and benefit from their comments and recommendations despite their criticism of the situation in Bahrain. At the end of the day, these organizations cannot be ignored, surpassed or under-estimated. The BHRM believes that confronting international human rights organizations is futile and will harm Bahrain and will not benefit the development of human rights. They have power in the international arena and in the media; hence there is no other choice but to deal with them in a positive manner.