New rights watchdog in Bahrain to steer clear of politics

June 8, 2011

Bahrain has given the green light to a new human rights group, making it the fourth rights watchdog in the country.

The Bahrain Human Rights Watch Observatory said that it would seek to promote genuine human rights at a time when activists tend to be driven by political agendas rather than a human rights standpoint.

“The existing rights groups are either with the opposition or with the government and seem to see only one side of the picture,” a member of the group who was instrumental in its creation said.

“Our group will work on covering rights consciousness away from politics,” the founder said, quoted by Al Bilad daily.

The new group said that it would seek to achieve its objectives by holding conferences, forums, exhibitions, presentations, reports, workshops and cultural, social and media activities.

Political activism

Under Bahrain’s laws, the group has no right to engage in political activism or in business transactions. It cannot team up with another group outside the country without the approval of the Social Development Ministry.

Bahrain Human Rights Society, which last month celebrated its 10th anniversary, was the first rights watchdog to be set up in Bahrain.

However, it has been hit by allegations of mismanagement that stalled its work until a compromise was eventually reached with the ministry.

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights was founded in 2002, but was dissolved in 2004 amid controversy.

The Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society, which has seen religious and social minorities assuming leadership roles, was established in 2004.



About the author

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

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