Smoke and Mirrors in the Gulf Kingdom of Bahrain

Behind the dense clouds of tear gas that still blanket thestreets 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 employsPR firms towage a disinformation campaign, and it routinely obstructs international humanrights advocates from entering the Kingdom.

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

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

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

This arbitrary time constraint is merely the latest in theGovernment’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.

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