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For Immediate Release

Bahrain Must End Travel Restrictions Imposed on Human Rights Organizations

Cambridge, Mass. - 03/02/2012

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today made public a joint letter from four leading human rights organizations to the Kingdom of Bahrain calling for an end to the five-day travel limit imposed on all human rights and humanitarian workers traveling to Bahrain.

On February 28, PHR was notified by Bahrain's Human Rights and Social Development Ministry of the new travel restrictions which limit travel within Bahrain to five-day trips which must be arranged through a Bahraini sponsor.

PHR, Amnesty International, and Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch stated in the letter, “We must object to the conditions placed on our visits, in particular the extremely short timeframe. The five-business-day limit appears to be arbitrary and will greatly impede our ability to monitor and research human rights developments.”

The new limitations of travel contradict the oral commitments Bahrain and other officials made in meetings with PHR, and to the United Nations, regarding access for international human rights organizations.

“If the King is truly committed to reforms he cannot continue to impose these arbitrary boundaries which prevent real and meaningful investigations by impartial, outside observers,” said Richard Sollom, PHR’s Deputy Director who was refused entry into Bahrain in January. “Unless the Government of Bahrain has something to hide, there is no reason that human rights investigators shouldn’t be allowed in the country for 10, 15, or even 50 days.”

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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