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Fri 8 Mar 2013 12:17 PM

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War of words intensifies on Bahrain human rights

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

War of words intensifies on Bahrain human rights
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.

RAH 6 years ago

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.

jonjon 6 years ago

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

Bint Al Abla 6 years ago

Never report on any developed country!?
If you bothered to read, you will see the HRW website currently singles out the US and Europe for far more criticism than the Gulf States.
Take the blindfold from your eyes, and the chip off your shoulder.
Oh, and why not remove the ear plugs while you are at it?
You might learn something.

ILkhan 6 years ago

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.

Grant Holt 6 years ago

What has this do to with England? One of the birth places of democracy and freedom of speech!

But your welcome to have a unfounded and unsubstantiated pop at the UK if you wish, because we believe in freedom of speech.

ILkhan 6 years ago

Grant...medieval times! not last 100 years or so

Wildwine 6 years ago

@Grant Holt; birth place of democracy? Can you kindly enlighten us when did this "birth" take place in England? Probably after the colonization era!!!

Monkey Tennis 6 years ago

@Wildwine - How on earth are democracy and colonization mutally exclusive? Democracy attempts to give the people a voice but there can be no guarantee that they will use it well.

Mobilocti 6 years ago

@Telcoguy, what is the point ! Most GCC countries are anomalies, they would never exist anywhere else. Good example is former Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia, etc. Remove dictatorship and they will correct the past mistakes. Most GCC countries were "mapped" in the Foreign and Colonial Office in London. So in Bahrain you have Qatari Sunni's Ruling over Shi'a majority, KSA has another story, Iraq, Syria, Kuwait,...........
So in short there will be criticism but no change! Not whilst the US 5 Fleet is hosted there.

Wildwine 6 years ago

@Monkey Tennis, I know what democracy is. Grant is talking of England as the birth place of democracy and freedom of speech, but what about the democracy (and voice of the people) in countries colonized by England (during that era)? Are you suggesting England was trying to give a voice to the people through colonization?
My point in plain English; The west talks about democracy and human rights when it suits them. However, if you look at history, they were the worst suppressors of democracy.
BTW I am not suggesting what Bahrain does is right.