NINETY complaints from Bahrainis and expatriates have been registered since the start of the year by the country’s main human rights watchdog.
The National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR) is currently investigating claims against government officials, public services, allegations of mistreatment, issues such as travel bans faced by expatriates and complaints from families of inmates.
However, many of the hundreds of complaints and requests for assistance received since 2013 by the body have been resolved, its acting secretary-general Dr Khalifa Al Fadhel told the GDN.
“Latest figures compiled by us show that as of now we have 90 complaints since January and 232 requests for assistance from citizens and expatriates.
“Out of the total number of complaints this year, 33 were received directly via a toll-free hotline, 80001144.”
He pointed out that the NIHR registered 118 complaints in 2013, 88 in 2014, 66 in 2015 and 137 cases last year.
Dr Al Fadhel urged people to use the toll-free hotline to register claims of human rights abuses, cases of mistreatment, complaints about court verdicts, prison visits, government services and any issues faced by expatriates.
“There is a growing confidence among the public to contact the NIHR to register their complaints, which we fully welcome and investigate with proper follow-up mechanisms.”
He said the NIHR has set up a special office at the Expat Protection Centre in Sehla, that is run by the Labour Market Regulatory Authority.
“Our staff has registered complaints from expatriates visiting this centre, and we are investigating these.
“We strongly encourage Bahrain’s vibrant expat population to visit the centre to register their complaints or seek guidance.”
He said the office was aware of every case reported to the shelter relating to alleged human trafficking and other issues such as maltreatment.
Complaints can be registered via the hotline, in English and Arabic, between 8am and 3pm, except on Fridays and Saturdays.
In addition to the new hotline, complaints can also be filed through an online complaint form available on the NIHR website, www.nihr.org.bh, or the NIHR mobile application.