New rights group launched in Bahrain
Manama, March 31, 2012
A new group of young human right activists last night officially launched their new centre, the Manama Centre for Human Rights in Bahrain.
The group plans to carry out various activities, programmes and projects to enhance and promote human rights amongst young members of the community.
It will also conduct and provide studies and researches, issue publications, organise training workshops, seminars and conferences to boost human rights principles.
A ceremony to introduce the public to the centre's objectives and mission was held last night at the Marina Club, Juffair.
Centre board of trustees' president Bassam Al Abdulla said that founders gathered late in 2010 to come up with ideas on how to best support youth in the community.
"We were sitting in a cafŽ and after an exchange of ideas decided to have the centre, but it took months for us to have it approved officially as it moved through bureaucratic procedures back and forth," he said.
"Founders have two concerns and that's funding and pressure to take sides, but we tell everyone that we are unbiased and are here to take a neutral approach, which our line-up clearly shows.
"We are ready to co-operate with anyone and everyone without discrimination, differentiation or favourtism."
A visiting top human rights activist, Sudanese Dr Ameen Maki Madani, said that communicating with the public is the most important aspect for any organisation dealing with human rights to succeed.
"Bahrain is one of the pioneers in human rights and is working continuously to improve legislations and practices in line with advancements and in some aspects taking the initiative," he said.
"Hopefully, the centre would take charge of having teams in towns and villages in Bahrain to record human rights violations, and that comes through proper selection, training and field work."
Dr Madani is the former High Commission for Human Rights Middle East representative and a former official in the Arab Human Rights Organisation.
Also speaking at the event was Jordanian Centre for Human Rights Studies co-ordinator Dr Hala Sobhi Murad who stressed that misinformation was misguiding the world about Bahrain and the Arab world.
"I was told that Bahrain's security situation is at its worst levels, but I came here to discover that international media was blowing things out of proportion," she said.
"This is the same case in Egypt and Yemen, which I visited earlier this month, and also in Iraq when visited a few years ago.
She said that the centre shouldn't just focus on school and university students, but also youths that were forced to leave school and join the labour market.
"The centre has to be true to its objectives and mission and focus on youth regardless of their education, with those unaware about its activities, programmes and projects, being approached by centre officials rather than the opposite."
Centre chief executive Ghada Othman and member Hussain Jaffar Ali gave a presentation on the centre's plans during the ceremony.-TradeArabia News Service