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Bahrain dismisses Amnesty International report

‘Report ignores the features of a pluralistic and multicultural society that respects the rulings of its independent courts’

Gulf News

Dubai: Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry has dismissed an Amnesty International report that looked at two Bahraini human rights oversight bodies — the Ombudsman’s Office and the Special Investigations Unit — and claimed there were “serious shortcomings”.

The ministry said the report “Window Dressing or Pioneers of Change?” was inaccurate and selective and that it contained blatant contradictory allegations.

“In its propagation of allegations that were not proven in a court of law, the report presents a cover that regretfully contributes to excuse illegal practices not related to human rights or the rule of law,” the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

“It also ignores the features of a pluralistic and multicultural society that respects the rulings of its independent courts, the freedom of opinion and expression and the freedom of peaceful assembly while it opposes all forms of torture as well as derogatory and inhumane treatment.”

The ministry said the report lacked credibility by ignoring that the establishment of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) was ordered by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa in line with his commitment to the National Action Charter and the constitution.

The ministry rejected the labelling of the National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR), saying that those who drafted the Amnesty International account that cast doubts on its independence most likely did not read its first and second annual reports.

“Bahrain is keen on communicating with international organisations for their role in the protection and promotion of human rights, provided that they comply with the highest standards of professionalism and neutrality in reporting facts, particularly when they have the opportunity to see the guarantees for the respect and protection of human rights during field visits. However, and in spite of the confirmation that the Bahraini officials cooperated, the organisation included in its report allegations that lacked objectivity,” the statement said.

“The ministry finds it deplorable that despite the openness and cooperation of Bahraini officials with the organisation, it sought to belittle the efforts and serious efforts of the Kingdom of Bahrain to move forward with the development of democracy and reforms within its constitution and its National Charter to ensure that human rights and fundamental freedoms are guaranteed without prejudice to the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, or the security of its citizens and residents. All this is being achieved through legislative texts and institutions that do not minimise rights and freedoms, but rather guarantee and maintain them,” the statement said.