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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Human Rights Watch : A letter to the King of Bahrain

September 24, 2010

His Majesty Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
Office of H.M. the King
Rifa’a Palace
Kingdom of Bahrain

Via facsimile: +973-1-766-4587

Your Majesty,

We are writing as the officers of the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division to express our grave concern regarding the deteriorating human rights situation in Bahrain. We are concerned in particular by the apparent targeting of human rights activists, including our colleague Nabeel Rajab, who is the head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and a member of this Advisory Committee.

On September 3, Human Rights Watch wrote to you and requested your intervention to halt the campaign of public vilification in official media as well as in media considered close to the government of our colleague. These media reports have accused Mr. Rajab of liaising with “international organizations”– an evident reference to Human Rights Watch as well as other international rights groups.

As you are aware, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights has criticized the government’s recent arrests of opposition figures, including civil society activists, and the group continues to disseminate important information regarding the alleged mistreatment and torture of detainees by security forces. We are seriously concerned that Mr. Rajab and other human rights defenders in Bahrain are essentially being targeted for their human rights monitoring and reporting activities.

These media attacks are intended to tarnish Mr. Rajab’s reputation and standing in the community. More importantly, they potentially endanger Mr. Rajab and his family by appearing to make him a legitimate target for attack by third parties. Over the past few weeks, Mr. Rajab has expressed serious concern to Human Rights Watch and members of this Advisory Committee that the aforementioned media attacks have created a prevailing climate of suspicion, prejudice, and anger against human rights defenders in the country. He has informed us that he has taken precautionary measures to ensure the safety of his family, but there is deep uncertainty and unpredictability regarding future government actions against him and other human rights defenders in the country with whom we work.

Mr. Rajab is a dedicated human rights defender who continually works to improve the human rights situation for all Bahrainis, an invaluable member of this committee, and, above all, a friend and colleague.

We therefore urge you and the government of Bahrain to take all necessary measures to ensure his personal safety and allow him and other human rights defenders in the country to continue their important work without threat of arrest or interference.


Hassan Elmasry
MENA Advisory Committee

Kathleen Peratis
MENA Advisory Committee

Asli Bâli
MENA Advisory Committee

Moulay Hicham
MENA Advisory Committee

Bruce Rabb
MENA Advisory Committee

Gary Sick
MENA Advisory Committee

H.E. Houda Ezra Nonoo
Ambassador, Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain
Via facsimile: 202-362-2192

Nizar Al Baharna
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
Via facsimile: +973-17-210-666


For more info check BCHR homepage


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