Bahrain: The government targets NGOs
August 25th, 2007
Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) is highly concerned by the practices of Bahraini government against local NGOs. The government, represented by the Ministry of Development, launched a campaign against local NGOs registered according to Law 21/1989. Most of human rights organizations refer to this law as one of the obstacles hindering the work of local NGOs in Bahrain. In addition, the Ministry of Development launched another campaign against unregistered committees and NGOs that refused to be registered according to such a deficit law that hinders its social work.
1. Islamic Work Association: it is a political association that was registered according to NGOs law (there is a different new law for political associations). The Ministry of Development closed its headquarters for a period of time, according to NGOs law.
2. Feminine Society of Bahrain: It is a feminist association registered according to NGOs law. The Ministry of Development required a separate license for each of association’s activities, according to the new regulations of the ministry, issued particularly because the ministry seeks to host someone from outside Bahrain.
3. Bahrain Society for Human Rights: it is a human rights organization registered according to NGOs law. The Ministry of Development sent a notification to the society requiring it to issue a license for hosting prominent figures from outside Bahrain to attend one of the events to be held by political and non-governmental NGOs on Transformational Justice.
1. Bahrain Center for Human Rights: The Ministry of Development dissolved the center in 2004 on the account of holding a seminar on discriminations in employment. The head of the center, Abdul Hady Khawaja was arrested. However, the center is still working and the ministry is still targeting its leaders.
Neglected registration NGOs:
1. Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights: The society submitted its license request in 2005. However, the ministry is still refusing to grant the license for no reasonable cause. The government targeted society heads several times and attempted to suppress its events.
2. Bahraini Child Association: The Ministry of Development neglected the registration request of Child Association for reasons that contradict the international conventions of the rights of children signed by Bahrain. They stipulate that children have the right to establish their own protective organizations. The association submitted its application in 2004.
The commissions threatened by the government:
1. The Committee of Unemployed and Law-paid labor
2. The Committee of the Returning from Exile
3. The Committee of Adequate Housing
4. The Committee of Feminist Petition
“The officials of these commissions stated that these are temporary committees that will end its work once the Bahraini government solves the problems handled by each committee.”
Representing Offices of International NGOs:
1. Amnesty International: The Ministry of Development hindered the activist group affiliated to Amnesty International. A symbolic event was planned to take place, but the ministry informed the security forces to suppress the event.
1. Haq Movement for Freedoms and Democracy: The government targeted HAQ movement because it refused registration upon Political Associations Law. The movement announced that this law hinders the work of political movements in Bahrain.
Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights calls upon the Bahraini government to stop targeting local NGOs by resorting to such deficit law. BYSHR calls upon the government and House of Representatives to announce their liability to amend the deficit articles of Law 21/1989 and encouraging NGOs to participate in phrasing a new law that aims at protecting NGOs against the misuse of government’s absolute powers.