BAHRAIN has submitted a report to Amnesty International (AI) debunking its claims against the kingdom.
The detailed Foreign Ministry report was delivered to the London-based NGO urging it not to release biased statements in the future.
In a statement in September, the international rights group claimed that between June 2016 and June 2017 at least 169 “government critics or their relatives” were arrested, tortured, threatened or banned from travelling.
It also alleged there was a “clampdown” on “freedom of expression”.
At the time, the National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR) and the Foreign Ministry had denied the claims and maintained that no one from AI had contacted them.
“I am releasing this information for the first time to the GDN that we receive all reports and statements, even those criticising us while backing false allegations,” said Assistant Foreign Minister Abdulla Al Doseri.
“We do not ignore or disregard any report from any local and international NGO.
“In the case of a report released by Amnesty International in September, we found there was a lot of inaccurate information filled with false allegations that required to be countered.”
Mr Al Doseri said AI did not contact the ministry to verify facts but instead went ahead and issued a subjective and negative report about Bahrain.
“We responded point-by-point to the list of allegations in our report which has been sent to the Amnesty International’s general secretariat.
“Once we know it has received it, our report will be released to the public.
“The international community has a better understanding about the human rights developments in Bahrain and how we are seriously moving ahead.”
The official urged rights groups to give the NIHR, Foreign Ministry and other government bodies an opportunity to respond to claims.
“I call upon international NGOs and those based in Bahrain to pick up the phone and call us to verify their facts,” said NIHR chairperson Maria Khoury.
Mr Al Doseri and Ms Khoury spoke to the GDN on the sidelines of an event organised by the NIHR yesterday to mark Human Rights Day.
The Interior Ministry’s assistant under-secretary for legal affairs Major General Mohammed Bu Hamood said it was working closely with the NIHR to protect the rights of all in Bahrain.
“We are working to protect and promote human rights and do our level best,” he said.
“But unfortunately our work becomes harder when we are building the pillars of human rights and there are others destroying them.”
He said Bahrain was the first country where human rights education was mandatory in police colleges.
“We are serious in what we do, regardless of what anyone says.”