Cablegate: Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society Launched

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

150849Z Dec 04





E.O. 12958: N/A


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

1. (U) The Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS) held a
press conference December 11 to inaugurate its activities and
launch its website: Led by Shura Council
member Faisal Foulad, founding members of the NGO called for
stronger advocacy of human rights issues and vowed to play a
role in the kingdom's democratization process. Members said
they would organize campaigns to encourage the GOB to sign
international agreements related to human rights. They also
expressed concern for draft laws on the regulation of public
gatherings and political and non-governmental societies. The
BHRWS supports the re-opening of the Bahrain Center for Human
Rights (BCHR) and the integration of human rights education
in schools.

2. (SBU) Comment: Many civil society activists criticize the
BHRWS for being too close to the government and point out
that it is not a substitute for the dissolved Bahrain Center
for Human Rights. They are correct in that the BHRWS will
not fill the void once occupied by the Bahrain Center, but
BHRWS members are genuine in their concern for human rights
issues and interest in advocacy. They will likely avoid
highly sensitive areas and seek to work with the system, but
they are unafraid of calling for close monitoring and
evaluation of the GOB's policies. Representatives of several
human rights organizations, including some who worked closely
with the BCHR, attended the launch and gave their support for
the society.

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