Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Your Excellency,

Firstly, we would like to congratulate you on your accession to this role, particularly as the first figure from the Arab world to be given this honour.

We followed your 8 September inaugural speech with great interest and welcome the principled positions you took towards the bloodshed in Syria and the dangers that ISIS poses. We are in full agreement with the point you make that “In the Takfiri world, unless your view is identical to theirs – and theirs is extremely narrow and unyielding – you forfeit your right to life”. As Muslims we have a duty to stand up to this barbarity and intolerance.

However, we were spurred to write following the issuing of a rude and offensive letter sent to you in the name of the “Bahraini people”, entitled “We were not expecting more from you”.

This letter in no way represents the view of civilized and proud Bahrainis, most of whom will be very pleased to see you ascend to this esteemed role and most of whom would be offended by the tone of the letter.

The writers of this letter were clearly annoyed by the fact that you didn’t spend the bulk of your speech attacking Monarchies in the Arab world, or advocating their failed strategy of revolution.

As a fellow citizen of this region you will understand that majority of us value safety for our families, a promising future for our children and a secure environment where we can find work and help our countries progress.

Bahrain has been through a traumatic period since 2011, but most of us want to turn the page and bring an end to the unrest that has held our country back. On the human rights file, Bahrain has succeeded in introducing reforms, but there is still some distance to go, as the Bahraini National Institute for Human Rights demonstrated in their report which was submitted to the Crown Prince on the same day as your inaugural speech and which we welcome.

As such, we also welcome a constructive relationship between your office and Bahrain in helping consolidate human rights reform and encouraging the Kingdom to continue moving forward.

What we cannot accept is the way that militant figures, like the writers of this offensive letter to you, try and hijack the human rights issue with the aim of destroying Bahrain’s Constitutional Monarchy and establishing their own sectarian vision.

Their undeserved attack on you is part of a sustained campaign to ingratiate themselves with naïve and misinformed human rights NGOs around the world; accompanied by a campaign of harassment for those who do not buy into their agenda.

You will already be well aware that Bahrain is one of the most socially and politically progressive states in the region, with a strong record on empowerment of religion and protection of minorities. In a region where cultural and social freedoms are too often moving backwards we welcome your solidarity with Bahrain.

We wish you every success in your new role and in furthering the cause of human rights in the Arab world and around the globe; we are in great need of your commitment and energy.

Yours faithfully,

Citizens for Bahrain

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