Bahrain: The Need to Deal with International Reports
Governments in the Arab World do not feel comfortable towards
international human rights reports, as they expect that each activity,
report or statement will not be in their favour. The reason for
this is that human rights reports are usually used politically and
in the media against the regimes as they reveal secrets, issues
and abuses that undermine the image of those regimes- an image that
they desire to be kept clean and hidden from the rest of the world.
And because political problems are deeply rooted in the Arab World
and the majority of the regimes are authoritarian and oppressive,
local opposition uses the reports as a tool for political ends,
a tactic used by some Western governments usually against rivals
from the developing countries.
It is notable that whenever the political situation improves
in a country, the human rights situation improves too and the apprehension
and anger of the rulers and officials towards these reports decreases
respectively. Occasionally oppressive regimes create their own human
rights organizations, directly or indirectly, in order to use them
as covers and facades for themselves and for confronting critics
and opponents. As for the regimes moving towards democracy such
as Bahrain and Morocco, their anxiety towards the activities and
reports of human rights organizations is decreasing continually
with the democratization process which increases confidence in the
stability of the political system. Especially with the existence
of local independent organizations that monitor and criticise the
abuses that take place. This is should be the case in such countries
in line with the new orientation where the correlation between democracy
and respect for human rights prevails.
In Bahrain we observed a positive attitude in dealing with international
human rights organizations, which were allowed to visit the country
and given an opportunity to perform their activities. The Government
responded positively to some inquiries and answered some questions
but there is still a great deal of resentment towards the international
reports. This is due to the fact that most of the reports do not
reflect the positive development on the ground and exaggerate the
abuses that take place or depend on information with no credibility.
Additionally, such reports do not take the official position into
We believe that it is necessary for the Government to:
- Encourage the presence of international organizations in
Bahrain for investigating, inspecting and seriously co-operate
- Deal with the reports positively, study them, identify its
mistakes and rectify them.
- Communicate with the organizations and point out any gaps
in their published reports, most of the time these organizations
welcome such clarifications.
- Not to exaggerate the negative effects of the reports on
its reputation and internal affairs as long as a real political
process exists and freedom of expression is wide. It is no longer
possible to invest negatively in such reports because the political
manipulation has been weakened in the current atmosphere of
openness, and in light of the availability of alternative means
for expression and the existence of political stability.
- To issue its human rights reports and note the mistakes,
positive developments and challenges.
Hasan Moosa Shafaei
President - Bahrain Human