25th Apr, 2013 –

Postponing the UN special rapporteur on torture will only attract increased criticism against Bahrain – better to facilitate his entry and prove that there is nothing to hide.

Heavily unbalanced recent reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch which ignored recent reforms – after both groups had been granted unparalleled access to officials and detainees – may have led some figures to believe that cooperating with such human rights bodies was counter-productive.

However, in the eyes of most of the world, a state that does not cooperate fully with human rights representatives automatically becomes subject to doubts and accusations. Bahrain cannot afford to put itself in such a category – particularly when we have much to be proud of in our recent reform record.

At the same time, human rights entities must recognize that transforming the human rights situation and fully implementing the rule of law at a time of national crisis is not an easy thing to accomplish. Bahrain is not moving forward as rapidly as it could, but it is also true that things are progressing much more significantly than has been recognized.

The King of Bahrain has repeatedly committed this country to implementing reform and modernizing the institutions of this country to become fairer, more representative and more accountable. To continue this process Bahrain needs constructive encouragement, to ensure that those figures within Bahrain’s leadership who believe in these values continue in the ascendancy and the benefits of remaining on this path become clear to all.

Thus we call on Bahrain’s leaders to continue going the extra mile in opening this country up to international scrutiny; but we also request from human rights bodies and the media to engage constructively with Bahrain, acknowledge positive developments and not slip into habits of automatic criticism and negativity.

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