War of words intensifies on Bahrain human rights

Human Rights Watch hits back at claims that it published 'biased and deceptive' report

Bahraini protesters hold placards. (AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

Bahraini protesters hold placards. (AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

An international human rights group has hit back in a row with Bahrain's government over findings it published after meetings with officials and politial prisoners.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has responded to statements issue by the Bahrain Interior Ministry and Social Development Ministry following a visit by HRW representatives to Bahrain last month.

Bahrain claimed HRW had misrepresented what ministry officials said in meetings, contravened privacy and security restrictions in publishing photos and videos of meetings with political prisoners, and ignored significant reforms by the ministry in response to the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report.

The Social Development Ministry issued a separate statement contending that references to the ministry in the Human Rights Watch report were “biased” and “deceptive".

But HRW said in a statement issued on Thursday that Bahrain had made "unfounded claims" and had failed to provide any example of any alleged misrepresentation.

The war of words centres on HRW's claims last week that Bahrain’s rulers had made no progress on key reform promises and had failed to release unjustly imprisoned activists or to hold accountable high-level officials responsible for torture.

HRW said it made the assessments after meeting with high-ranking officials and with political prisoners.

During a five-day visit, the first allowed to Human Rights Watch by the government in almost a year, three representatives met with interior minister Lt Gen Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, attorney general Dr Ali Fadl al-Buainain, and Nawaf Abdulla Hamza, head of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) responsible for investigating police excesses and command responsibility.

They also met Major Gen Tariq Hassan, the chief of public security, John Timoney, senior police adviser to the Interior Ministry, and representatives of the Social Development and Human Rights ministries.

Human Rights Watch’s visit was facilitated by the newly established Human Rights Ministry, it said in the statement.

Human Rights Watch said it hopes that Bahrain will soon resume its policy, discontinued in 2011, of allowing independent human rights monitors to enter the country and to monitor human rights developments.

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Posted by: Calvin

True democracy is nothing but a mirage. The more you think you are close to it, the farther it goes away. And as the sun set and darkness appears, it disappears and just the idea hope of its return remains.

Quit fighting.

Posted by: Bint Al Abla

You've missed the (philosophical) point.
True democracy is not a mirage, but an ideal: which brave people fight for, just like ethical ideals or religious perfection.
Brave people have fought and died over such ideals for centuries, such as the abolition of slavery (dates dependent on country), trade unions (19th Century), women's right to vote (late 19th/early 20th Century).
For all these brave people who struggled, democracy has come closer.

Posted by: Ticapuka

Freedom of speech in England? when all media are in the hand of someone who dictates the editorial line and the opinions?
you must really be blind to say something like that. Maybe there is some people who try and some online articles. but in the official media, in EU, USA and Australia; there is no freedom of speech anymore. There is still a freedom to think but not to express it.
People can speak up their mind but as soon as they become too loud and can make some other change their mind, the gvts will always find a trick to make them get in line. Many honest journalists had this unfortunate faith; others where found suicide d (with seven bullets in the back - just to caricature )

Posted by: Ticapuka

Hi RS, I don't argue with that. I do agree. My point is that it is not an absolute thing and 100% proof thing to lecture or paternalize others with. With Respect the Prince WBT; that is exactly my point. Both of them have objectives, either financial or political and their media group journalists are obliged to follow or get fired with the risk of never being employed anywhere else as they get black listed by the industry. Money talks. usually you are sharper than this in getting the point :-).
The other point is and you know it well. Any democratic or popular movement (like occupy wall street; will be tolerated as far as it is funny) will be shot down and the leaders black listed as soon as they become a problem

Posted by: ILkhan

Human Rights is firm in roots of Islam, but the monarchies or kingdoms practice in their states is probably far from human rights and Islam.

It is a medieval system which is practiced in these states which probably was the norm of the English empire very long time ago.

Posted by: Wildwine

@Grant & Expatsaffa; unfortunately names of any of the countries mentioned did not appear in the column, which I think explains why those countries were not included in the comments.
I agree that just because it has happened in the past does not justify actions of Bahrain Government. However, since everybody is guilty at one point in history (be it 10 years or 1000 years ago), shouldn't we give more space and try to understand the circumstances of Bahrain Government?? Without simply trying to vilify them?
@Telcoguy; No one is being jealous, racist or asking anyone to go to the airport, BTW I am not even from this region.
If your opinion is that England is the Champion of democracy; that is fine; but remember it is only your opinion.
Others do not have to follow that for sure and can have a different opinion.

Posted by: jonjon

i agree with RAH, ever notice how they never report on any developed country, as if their slate is clean

Posted by: procan

Bint Al Abla what on earth have you been reading? You should really have it transcribed in your language for easier understanding.

Posted by: Bint Al Abla

Please read! ALL the HRW reports have far more criticisms of developed countries than the Gulf!

Posted by: RAH

What is sad is the fact that Bahrain responds to the HRW. I say just ignore the HRW and these reports to show its insignificance to the Kingdom.

The more the government replies and gets angry, the more HRW people think they have control. Ignore them and they'll shoo away like the nuisance pests that they are and can leave the Kingdom alone.

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