HR Defenders, not Political Opponents
Human rights organizations are not opposition movements and it
is wrong to restrict the role of human rights organizations in condemnation
Human rights need an infrastructure that provides the necessary
protection. Such infrastructure can be established through changing
current laws and public culture, and by creating a normal and stable
relationship between human rights organizations and the executive
The ability of human rights organizations to persuade the government
and its security, judicial and executive institutions to change
laws, or encourage them to respect human rights, will serve the
interest of such organizations better than condemnation and defamation.
Ultimately, the major concern for human rights organizations
in general is to improve the human rights situation, and avoid conflict
with the political system.
The opposition political parties are free to do whatever they
wish , while the role of human rights activists lies in reducing
human suffering and human rights violations by amending laws and
changing policies, as well as encouraging officials to continue
reforms and institutionalize human rights into the political life
of the country.
It is easy to condemn and attack the regime, but will it change
the human rights situation on the ground?
Must one go through political battles and frighten the regime
in order to develop human rights? Is this really the case?
Human rights should not be used to scare regimes, and human rights
activists should be creative in influencing decision-makers. Human
rights become undesirable and a source of problems if used by political
or human rights groups, in order to condemn and exaggerate problems,
without presenting any solution or vision.
Some local human rights organizations do not realise the above
fact, even though it is well known by international human rights
organizations. The latter usually try hard to open dialogue and
cooperate with the regimes in order to help implement their human
rights agendas. However, when the use of rational language and constructive
dialogue becomes useless, international organizations condemn them
as part of a desperate measure, and not as a permanent policy.
Bahrain is an example of a progressing country in the human rights
field. It is not an ideal country, but also, it is not as bad as
what some might project. How can any human rights activist ignore
Bahrain’s achievements in the fields of politics and human rights?
Why do some people who regard themselves as human rights defenders
insist on creating tension between the Executive Authority and human
rights organizations? The key to the success of Bahraini human rights
activists lies in not considering themselves peaceful or violent
opposition movements, and also in acting as human rights defenders.