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Smoke and Mirrors in the Gulf Kingdom of Bahrain

on March 2, 2012

Behind the dense clouds of tear gas that still blanket the streets of Bahrain, the Government continues its attacks on Shia neighborhoods, opposition and civil society leaders, and medical personnel.

Attempting to conceal its ongoing abuses, the Government employs PR firms to wage a disinformation campaign, and it routinely obstructs international human rights advocates from entering the Kingdom.

Case in point: I was deported from Bahrain on 8 January this year after the Government had invited Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) to visit and granted me a multiple-entry five-year visa. Other international rights organizations later faced similar treatment.

After my deportation, the Government wrote saying it felt “it would be more beneficial for a visit from [my] esteemed organization to take place . . . after the end of February” when it had completed implementing recommendations from the BICI report.

Now, the Ministry of Human Rights and Social Development has informed me of new regulations limiting the length of time human rights organizations could be in country to five working days.

This arbitrary time constraint is merely the latest in the Government’s smoke-and-mirrors campaign to hide its ongoing abuses.

PHR, along with Amnesty International, Human Rights First, and Human Rights Watch, issued a joint letter [pdf] of protest decrying this latest restriction.

Places: Bahrain