Human Rights Activist, Abdulla Al-Derazi:
We have Good Relation with the Interior Ministry and are Concerned
about Torture Dossier
In our efforts to keep local and international public opinion
informed about the human rights situation in Bahrain, the Monitor
interviewed the Secretary General of the very first human rights
Society in Bahrain who is also an academic at the University of
Bahrain. The Bahrain Human Rights Society was established in 2001
and is one of the most active Societies in Bahrain.
To what extent is the Bahrain Human Rights Society
satisfied with the human rights situation? And what are your major
Undoubtedly, there is an improvement in the situation in comparison
with previous years, especially during the time of the State Security
Law. Currently, the margin of freedom has increased, municipal and
parliamentary elections have taken place, the Public Prosecutor’s
Office and Constitutional Court have been established and prisons
have been cleared. As for the second part of the question, what
really concerns us are the following:
Non-closure of the file of victims of torture, martyrs, the exiled
and those harmed by the events of the previous era, i.e. since enforcing
the State Security law and up to his Majesty’s taking over the throne
. We need to close this file and apply the principle of transitional
justice and compensate the victims for the damage inflected on them.
The recent allegations of return of systematic torture since
the events of December 2007 until the case of the Al-Hujjaira. The
families of the detainees and the released prisoners talked about
the physical and psychological torture they were subjected to during
their detention. The Public Prosecutor rejected repeated formal
requests made by the Bahrain Human Rights Society to visit the detainees
to verify these allegations by a professional and independent party.
The adoption of the Terrorism Act, Assembly Law and Law of Association
will hinder freedom of expression.
The closure of the websites of some legally licensed political
societies during a time we are aiming to increase the freedom of
electronic media and working towards referring media breaches to
the Judiciary and not to the Ministry of Information.
We read about your Society’s visit to the women’s
prison, do you think that a new stage has started in your relation
with the security authorities, and what is the future of this relationship?
And what are the obstacles facing its development, if any?
The Interior Ministry’s permission for the Society to visit the
Women Rehabilitation Centre is an excellent step, and shows that
the Minister appreciates the importance of joint co-operation between
civil and official institutions for providing better services for
society (a detailed report of this visit will be published in the
near future). This step is regarded as a positive development and
a turning point in our relationship with the Interior Ministry.
A joint committee between the Society and Ministry has been formed
and it meets regularly for coordination and follow-ups. The Ministry
has also solved all the issues presented by the Society, which including
those raised by citizens and prison inmates. As for the obstacles,
I do not think they exist, because the objective of both the Ministry
and Society is to develop the human rights situation. However, we
do need to deepen the trust between us so that the human rights
situation in Bahrain improves. To add to this, the Society’s role
needs to be re-assessed, its independence respected, and a balanced
and equal partnership between it and government institutions needs
to be established.
Ultimately, what is of importance to us is respecting citizens’
rights and putting an end to any violation. It is not our objective
to confront the Government but we do stress the fact that we will
not abandon our goals which are the bases of the Society, and will
not ignore any abuses that occur, and we seek to address them with
wisdom and prudence.
With regards to civil human rights societies in
Bahrain, we are witnessing a clear difference in their performances,
what is your evaluation of their activities after the long years
since their establishment? And how do you evaluate their relationship
with one another? And what is the scope of their development at
the professional and institutional level?
With regards to civil human rights societies in Bahrain, we are
witnessing a clear difference in their performances, what is your
evaluation of their activities after the long years since their
establishment? And how do you evaluate their relationship with one
another? And what is the scope of their development at the professional
and institutional level?