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 and defamation.

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 authority.

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.