Confused about Human Rights Societies in Bahrain?

I was a bit confused reading the newspapers this morning regarding two human rights societies. You might’ve been too, so let me remove some of the confusion:

There is the National Human Rights Commission which is different from the Bahrain Human Rights Society. The first is a government organisation established by Royal Decree and the BHRS on the other hand, is a registered and independent and highly regarded civic society which has long been involved in the defence of human rights in Bahrain.

Salman Kamaleddin, assigned president by Royal Decree of the BHRC, resigned after just 4 months at the helm. Although he did not declare why he actually resigned his commission so far, it is presumed that the reasons are that he is at odds with receiving orders on what to condone and what to object to.

Soon thereafter another event took place in that the Bahrain Human Rights Society [BHRS] was accused of being sectarian, which got them to be quite understandably publicly angry at the accusation. The government organ in charge of all non-political societies in Bahrain, the Ministry of Social Development stepped in and ham-fistedly aggravated the situation by firing Al-Dirazi and replaced him just today with someone more amenable to the government’s view. The replacement is assigned to head the society for 8 months and is to prepare a supposedly comprehensive report about the society, its finances and work within 2 months of assuming office. The Ministerial order also specifies that a General Assembly is to be convened rather quickly, dissolve the board and elect a new board. Presumably under the new appointed chief. Thus, effectively hijacking human rights work in this country with not a single registered civic human rights society operating here.

The international community wasn’t pleased with the developments and various international organisations condemned the move and called on the Bahrain government to not interfere in civic societies and re-instate the highly respected Al-Dirazi who presided over the BHRS to his position.

Now, just today in the same paper that carried that news, the deputy prime minister is pictured not only meeting Kamaleddin – who has resigned the BHRC’s position – but commending him on a job well done and affirming the importance of Rights societies and their contribution to the health of the country… as if Kamaleddin never resigned and everything was hunky dory with the BHRC!

Didn’t anyone tell DPM that the BHRC’s been practically dissolved with Kamaleddin’s resignation? Or is it back as it was now and Kamaleddin’s changed his mind all of a sudden and has been brought back to lead the Society again?

نائب رئيس الوزراء يلتقي كمال الدين ويشيد بمؤسسة ‘حقوق الإنسان‘
أكد نائب رئيس الوزراء سمو الشيخ محمد بن مبارك آل خليفة خلال لقائه أمس في مكتبه بقصر القضيبية رئيس المؤسسة الوطنية لحقوق الإنسان سلمان كمال الدين، أهمية الدور الذي تضطلع به المؤسسة ومؤسسات المجتمع المدني للعمل من أجل الارتقاء والنهوض بأوضاع حقوق الإنسان وتعزيز الحريات الأساسية ونشر وتعميم ثقافة حقوق الإنسان. وأعرب سموه عن ثقة الحكومة في المؤسسة رئيساً وأعضاء لتحقيق الأهداف والتطلعات المرجوة من إنشائها ومواصلة مسيرة الإنجازات في مجال تعزيز وحماية الحريات العامة وحقوق الإنسان.
ونوه سموه بالتطورات التي حققتها مملكة البحرين في ظل عهد جلالة الملك في مجال حقوق الإنسان التي حظيت بإشادة واسعة إقليمياً ودولياً.

Al-Wasat · 17 Sept 2010

His highness expressed the government’s confidence in the organisation’s [BHRC] president and members to achieve the desired goals and objectives of its creation and for it to continue the march of achievements in the promotion and protection of public freedoms and human rights.

translated the bold bits

With this confusion and the absence of some officially registered organisation to take care of human rights and guard against transgressions, I guess the only one which comes to the foreground now is the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights? Ah, sorry, although it’s the most active anyway with a proven track record in defending people from those Bahrainis in Guantanamo, to migrant workers through to political activists, it too has been dissolved by the MoSD and its site has been blocked for some time now. Oh, and both their current and previous presidents found their mugshots featured in a poster along with the “23 terrorists” who’ve been recently apprehended. Their pictures have since been removed in the online versions of the quite nicely designed poster for some reason.

So, you’re on your own.

I hope that clears things up a bit for you now and you can go back to your hopefully relaxing Friday.

Off to find something to continue to waste my time now. Ta taa.


  1. t l man

    كما يقولون في فيلم “كول لوقا يدوية ØŒ وقال” ما لدينا هنا هو فشل في الاتصال.

    وهو بسيط.

    لدينا ملك وأسرته الذين لم ينتخبوا.

    هذه الأسرة هي في الأقلية ، لكنهم يريدون لحكم الأغلبية من الشعب.

    هؤلاء الناس يتمسكون دائما الى السلطة.

    الذي لديه القدرة على جعل الأمور مختلفة؟

    لا أحد في هذه الجزيرة.

    وهناك عدد كبير من الناس سفك الدماء من أجل لا شيء

  2. chanad

    My dear Mahmood, How can you forget the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS) run by the illustrious Faisal Fulad?!

    So nothing to worry about. He’s got your back I’m sure.

    Keep safe!

    1. Post
  3. Tanya Degano

    Why don’t they exist Mahmood? Is the BHRS anti-governmental in the sense that they can post articles which are contrary to the government’s policies/etc?

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