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Cablegate: Gob in Final Stages of Approving New Human Rights

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

171440Z Nov 04

UNCLAS MANAMA 001726

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR NEA/ARPI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KDEM BA
SUBJECT: GOB IN FINAL STAGES OF APPROVING NEW HUMAN RIGHTS
NGO


Sensitive but unclassified (deliberative process); please
protect accordingly. Not for Internet distribution.

1. (SBU) After a four month wait, the Bahraini Ministry of
Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) is expected to approve the
establishment of the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society
within the next ten days. The board of the group, led by
Shura Council member Faisal Foulad, includes women,
unionists, Shias, Sunnis, a Christian, and a Jew. Foulad
told PolOff November 17 that the group will operate
independently of the government and will monitor human rights
violations in the country and advocate reforms that support
human rights. Al Ayam newspaper incorrectly reported that
MOLSA had already approved the establishment of the society.

2. (SBU) Foulad said that the society will focus on
monitoring the rights of women, children, and foreign
workers, and will report on discrimination in all forms,
especially religious discrimination. The society will seek
to develop laws that support international agreements on
human rights, particularly the UN Declaration on Human
Rights. Foulad said his group has good relations with
international and local NGOs and hoped that the GOB allows
the Bahrain Center for Human Rights to re-open soon. Despite
its name, the new organization has no formal association with
Human Rights Watch.

3. (SBU) Comment: Foulad is an outspoken advocate for human
rights who will work within the system to promote individual
rights and prevent discrimination. As a member of the
(appointed) Shura Council, he is in a position to influence
government policy; however, others view him as too close to
the regime to play an effective role. His organization is
not intended to replace the closed and dissolved Bahrain
Center for Human Rights, which was willing to push the
envelope and, at times, provoked the ire of the GOB. But the
Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society is a welcome addition to
the Kingdom's civil society scene.
MONROE

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