HRF’s Brian Dooley refused entry into Bahrain

January 20, 2012

In the series ‘crime (non coöperation) shouldn’t pay’ I am bringing to your attention the behavior of Bahrain. It has denied Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley’s request to visit the kingdom next week. The Government of Bahrain suggested such visits should be delayed until March. The latest denial comes less than two weeks after Bahrain refused to admit Rick Sollom of the U.S.-based nonprofit organization Physicians for Human Rights. This is rather shocking given that only last November the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry had been allowed a surprisingly frank public report. It turns out to be lip service. Brian Dooley himself, the head of the  Human Rights Defenders Program of HRF had the following to say about the refusal on 17 January 2012:

With delicious irony, the Government of Bahrain sent out a press release last week declaring that it “welcomes visits by all human rights organizations,” and that its “open-door policy remains in place” on the same day it sent me a letter saying it wouldn’t let me into the country.

I had been planning to go to Bahrain on January 19 to meet human rights activists and Bahraini government officials, as I have on three previous visits in the last nine months. I told the Bahraini government on December 20 I’d be coming, but it wasn’t until January 11 that it responded, saying my trip must wait until March, when a committee set up to implement reforms will have done its work. I said I’d be happy to go now and in March. No good.

Last week, Rick Sollom from Physicians for Human Rights was turned away when he landed in Bahrain. Authorities told him that “all government officials are under tremendous work pressure” and that he should come back after the end of February when a trip would be “more beneficial.”

These are stiff reminders that the Bahraini government should be judged on its actions, not its words. Denying (rather, “delaying”) access to human rights organizations is a hallmark of repressive regimes. Bahrain already ticked many of those boxes in 2011. Mass arrests? Check. Torture? Check? Deaths in custody? Check. Shootings of civilians? Unfair trials? Attacks on places of worship? Targeting of peaceful dissidents? Check check check check.…………………

By shutting out those who report on human rights, the regime confirms that its alleged commitment to reform and transparency doesn’t go any deeper than words.


4 Responses to “HRF’s Brian Dooley refused entry into Bahrain”

  1. […] HRF’s Brian Dooley refused entry into Bahrain ( […]

  2. […] HRF’s Brian Dooley refused entry into Bahrain ( […]

  3. […] On 10 March 2023 Human Rights Watch reported that staff members – who were to attend the 146th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly – had their visas revoked. Denial of entry into Bahrain has happened to other HRDs before, see e.g. : […]

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