Bahrain Monitor - A Monthly Newsletter on the Human Rights Situation in Bahrain

Security Agencies & Human Rights

Activists worldwide tend to focus primarily on human rights violations committed by their own governments, where the culprit is most likely to be the security apparatus which is viewed by some as antagonistic to human rights given that these agencies are the ones that carry out the arrest, interrogation and in some instances the torture, ill-treatment and dignity degradation of their detainees.

But a new doctrine is now emerging in the human rights world based on the tenet that security agencies can be transformed - as it should be – to be the protectors of human rights by applying the law, preventing infringements, combating violence and holding accountable violators of law and rights of other people. This shift in vision seems clear and obvious in many countries that have an advanced human rights record; but not in many other places of the world where the conflict between human rights activists and security services still prevails, with each side viewing the other as hostile to them and a violator of the law and rights of citizens. more



The Highest Human Rights Authority

OHCHR: The Role, Objectives & Mechanisms, A Tough Road
Towards Protecting Human Rights

Hasan Moosa Shafaei

Prepared by: Hasan Moosa Shafaei

The UN High Commission for Human Rights forms the cornerstone of international human rights work and represents the legal basis for human rights in the world. It is also the main monitoring body through its multiple institutions and organizations and diverse experts in human rights-related fields. It also represents the primary organization that directs political pressure at states which violate international human rights law. OHCHR is also the legal entity authorized to supervise the states’ implementatio? of treaties and international conventions related to human rights. In other words, according to OHCHR’s own texts,  more



Objectives, Means& Capabilities

Amnesty International from Within

Amnesty International is one of the pioneers in the world of human rights organizations. Today it is considered as the most active and effective organization, with its considerable input towards the promotion of human rights, assistance to local human rights organizations, and cooperation with those countries aspiring to develop their human rights situations.

In addition to monitoring the human rights situation across the globe, Amnesty is keen to interact and cooperate with the relevant countries by paying field visits and offering the appropriate advice and recommendations that could help improve human rights situations. more



MENA Director at Amnesty International:

Our Goal is to Remind
Governments of their Obligations
& to Encourage Reforms

Philip Luther, Middle East and North
Africa Director at Amnesty International

Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International said that the they are interested in reminding governments of their international obligations and encouraging them to implement positive reforms. He stressed on the Organization’s independence and the accuracy, and the impartiality of the statements and reports issued by it, noting that they do not rely on just a single source of information and expressing their willingness to receive any clarifications or corrections by governments. more



Amnesty’s Report on Issues of Concern

The Government: The Report Presented a Distorted Image &
We Welcome Cooperation

Amnesty International issued a lengthy report on the state of human rights in Bahrain after two field visits in which it met with state officials, civil society institutions as well as the National institution for human rights among others.

The report entitled “Behind the rhetoric: Human rights abuses in Bahrain continue unabated” outlined human rights developments in Bahrain since the 2011 events and its aftermath. The report relied heavily on the recommendations of the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry which became better known as the “Bassiouni report” that was adopted as the benchmark in assessing the situation in Bahrain in the various aspects that were tackled. more



Amnesty’s Report on Issues of Concern

The Government: The Report Presented a Distorted Image & We Welcome Cooperation

Amnesty International issued a lengthy report on the state of human rights in Bahrain after two field visits in which it met with state officials, civil society institutions as well as the National institution for human rights among others.

The report entitled “Behind the rhetoric: Human rights abuses in Bahrain continue unabated” outlined human rights developments in Bahrain since the 2011 events and its aftermath. The report relied heavily on the recommendations of the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry which became better known as the “Bassiouni report” that was adopted as the benchmark in assessing the situation in Bahrain in the various aspects that were tackled. more



The Contentious Relationship Between Bahrain & The International Human Rights Community

The issue of human rights in Bahrain with its foreign ramifications has occupied a significant portion of the activities and concerns of the government in Manama over the past few years, pushing it to focus its efforts on nurturing it and seeking to achieve results in this field by addressing the challenges and obstacles standing in the way. It has therefore become necessary for parties with an interest in this subject and its associated political and media implications to be aware of its potential and means that could supplement their efforts in achieving the desired and stated goal of furthering human rights in Bahrain.

There are however, a number of basic hypothetical observations on the stance visa-vis international human rights organizations. more



Human Rights Work: Actors & Mechanism

Whom do States Deal with When It Comes to Human Rights?

There is a wide array of institutions and countries across the globe abuzz with thousands upon thousands of institutions and organizations in all disciplines, but to a give a synopsis of this world we can name the key players:

1- United Nations (UN) organs namely the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and UN agencies such as the International Labor Organization (ILO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO) among others. All these institutions play a role with certain aspects of human rights that should not be overlooked or understated.  more



Conflict or Cooperation: The Relationship with the International Human Rights Community

In recent years there has been considerable debate in many countries, feeling the heat from international human rights organizations, on whether they should disregard these rights watchdogs with their posture on human rights issues and bear the consequences or establish a healthy relationship with this community by cooperating, and therefore, benefiting from it.

There are two conflicting views on this

In terms of the country’s reputation internationally, it goes without saying that all nations seek a clean image. As such, non-cooperation with the human rights community and continuing to commit abuses   more



Human Rights Reforms Must Continue

The Beginning of a Change
in the International
Community’s Assessment

A significant improvement in the positions of some international players with an interest in Bahrain’s human rights situation has been observed recently. This was the result of a number of factors and positive developments in Bahrain’s handling of it human rights’ affairs.

These developments included measures taken to consolidate the institutional infrastructure of human rights, such as: more

Towards a Free & Independent Civil Society

States have sharply diverging views on civil society institutions, whereby three patterns emerge with regard to dealing with non-governmental organizations (and also to some extent the opposition political parties which usually share many of the goals and activities of civil society groups). These patterns can be listed as follows:

1. Confrontation & Hostility: Some states do not even allow the establishment of civil society institutions and consider them as a threat given their potential to end up as a partner in the decision-making process involving any issue. Therefore they outlaw the formation of NGO’s and bar them from being officially registered. Sometimes there would not even exist a law for NGO’s. In cases where organizations do get set up, such as charities, the government intervenes and forces them to be legally attached to an official authority (a ministry or a governmental institution). As such, the civil activity becomes restrained by government’s rules and regulations thus discouraging citizens from interacting with it. In other instances, these countries deliberately suppress activists and volunteers by raiding their workplaces, confiscating their equipments and throwing them in jail under the pretext of breaking the law. more



Debate on Bahrain

Human Rights’ issues worldwide are not raised within a confined space, but rather in a wider circle that encompasses the media, the International organizations and Parliaments, whereby a human rights issue in one country could well be treated, in another, as an internal issue that warrants debating about in Parliament, such as the case in the UK, Germany and the United States.

Following, are examples of such debates, concerning Bahrain, inside the British House of Commons, with questions raised and answers given that reflect the causes of concern and the progress made with regard to the issues on the table.

Q Asked by Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he and Ministers in his Department have made to their counterparts in Bahrain on the use of torture in that country. more



The British Ambassador: We Support Reforms in Bahrain

British Ambassador to Bahrain, Iain Lindsay said:-

“Over the last 3 years, the UK has played an important role, as Bahrain’s strategic partner of choice, in helping to support the reform visions of His Majesty King Hamad and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince. We have done so because, as a close friend, we recognised, like the Bahraini authorities, that there were significant capacity and capability issues for them in implementing the specific and major reforms recommended by the landmark Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry.

Given the scale of the task which Bahrain confronted in 2011, the British government believes that Bahrain has, with UK support, made good progress and is on the right track. We have provided judicial, human rights, prisons and security sector reform assistance to key ministries and institutions, including capacity building and training.

more



Combating the
Neo-Theocrats

We seem little closer to understanding and defeating a common enemy (Terrorism), which remains primarily defined by its tactics of terror and the underlying subversion of Islam. But terrorism is merely a tool of twisted ideologues, whose recent atrocities include the murdering and kidnapping of journalists, and the grotesque immolation of Jordanian pilot Muath Al-Kasasbeh.

Terrorism is not an ideology; we are not merely fighting terrorists, we are fighting theocrats. The current war is not against Islam, It is against those who commandeer religion for their own ends

We know these are people who attempt to govern us here on Earth as well as in the hereafter. They isolate themselves and place no value on the social contract established among ourselves as societies of human beings. They oppress women and slaughter those who do not condone, approve of or subscribe to their own twisted ideology. They also govern by religious edict, constraining the use of reason itself among would-be believers. Their methodology combines the tactics of religious ideology alongside lawless ?aramilitary rule. It is fuelled by the gains of criminal enterprise in order to establish the fiction of governance, through which continues the desperate fight for geographic territory to claim, protect and rule. more



Foreign Minister:
We continue to cooperate with the
High Commissioner
for Human Rights

On 10.02.2015 Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa met the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zaid bin Ra’ad Al-Hussain, and reviewed with him Bahrain’s strides in boosting human rights as a main pillar of the reform project of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. He also reiterated the kingdom’s commitment to cooperation with the United Nations and the High Commission, including the Human Rights Council, pointing out that Bahrain has gone a long way at the institutional and legislative level to foster the culture of human rights and apply the best international practices and standards in this respect. more