Bahrain national rights watchdog calls for end to misunderstanding between Bahrain and Qatar

May 24, 2010
By

Adel Al Taweel in a Doha hospital

Bahrain Human Rights National Commission on Monday has called for an end to the misunderstanding between Bahrain and Qatar over the shooting and detention of a Bahraini fisherman by the Qatari authorities.

Tension between the two countries have flared up in the last ten days after Adel Al Taweel, a 37-year-old fisherman, was shot in Qatari waters for allegedly failing to heed warnings from the Qatari coastguards. The victim was taken to a hospital in Doha where he was treated before being detained despite pledges that he would be allowed to go home.

A medical team and a human rights delegation that flew from Bahrain to help Adel and repatriate him were snubbed by Qatar, causing the tension between the two countries to escalate. No official statement was issued by either country, but the Bahraini media strongly condemned the shooting and referred to a high number of Bahraini fishermen being detained in Doha.

On Sunday, Bahrain’s government said that 107 fishermen were detained by Qatar and tasked its interior and agriculture ministries to set up a committee to help find a solution.

Seeking to help put an end to the tension, the newly-formed Bahraini national rights watchdog said that the shooting incident should be contained “cordially” and “wisely” and that the two countries should move forward with their relations.

“We have appointed the commission president Salman Kamaludeen to follow up the case with the brothers in the Qatari commission for human rights and with the Qatari competent authorities to help reach a solution,” the commission said in a statement on Monday afternoon.

“The commission members value the efforts exerted by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa and the political leaders to reach a solution. They are also confident that the Qatari leaders are not pleased with the developments,” the commission said.

In Jeddah, Bahrain’s foreign minister, Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, called for new measures that would allow GCC citizens to engage in amateur fishing in the GCC waters.

“We should agree on the measures and standardaize our action in order to avoid painful shooting incidents,” he said.

Manama and Doha have been for months now locked in a bitter standoff over the name of the next secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Bahrain insists that its nominee Mohammad Al Mutawa be given the top position, but Qatar said that it would accept a Bahraini nominee as long as it was not Al Mutawa, the information minister during the border dispute between the two countries that was ended by the International Court of Justice in 2001.

A decision by Bahrain last week to freeze the activities of Qatar-based Al Jazeera station in Bahrain on the grounds that it did not abide by professional conventions was seen as part of the difficult relations between the two neighbours.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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