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Rights complaints app to be launched

Bahrain News
Sun, 03 Apr 2016
By Sandeep Singh Grewal


Bahrain: A NEW mobile phone application that will make it easier for people to file rights complaints from anywhere in the world will soon be launched in Bahrain.

“The app is currently in the testing phase and will be launched in the coming weeks,” said National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR) vice-chairman Dr Abdulla Al Deerazi.

The move is part of efforts by Bahrain’s chief rights watchdog to reach out to people who have genuine grievances relating to issues in Bahrain.

“The idea is to enable people to file their complaints using their smart phones or other devices without physically visiting our headquarters in Seef District,” said Dr Al Deerazi.

The app, once launched, will be available for download on Android and Apple devices.

After downloading the app, a person can use it to register complaints anonymously and upload documents, said Dr Al Deerazi.

“Once the complaint is filed, within 24 hours the person receives a message, acknowledging that a case has been registered, and a tracking number.

“The person can then track the progress of his complaint at every stage using the number.”

Dr Al Deerazi said NIHR complaints, monitoring and follow-up committee head Maria Antoine Khoury will receive notifications of the complaints and will start her investigation depending on the nature of the case.

He said the NIHR was expecting to receive a flood of complaints once the app is launched – especially from expatriate families living outside Bahrain.

“There are thousands of expatriate workers in Bahrain and their families are concerned about them.

“They contact the embassies and government bodies for help, but now in less than a minute they can register their grievances with the NIHR.”

Dr Al Deerazi stressed the rights watchdog will investigate complaints only related to Bahrain and issues that fall within its mandate.

“We will even provide assistance to people for following up with different ministries.

“Confidence has grown among people in Bahrain that the NIHR will investigate complaints.

“The app will now extend our service beyond Bahrain and we are ready to deal with new cases.”

Earlier this month, the rights activist said during a meeting in Geneva that the NIHR app initiative had received praise from international groups.

“We will train international groups on the success of the app initiative so they can adopt our model in their respective countries.”

The GDN previously reported that the Ombudsman’s Office was planning to launch an app for smartphones to will help people lodge official complaints over allegations of police misconduct and human rights violations, among
others.

Investigation

The rights body in its 2014 report said it had investigated 88 complaints – down from 118 in 2013 – filed by 119 people. Seventy-eight of the complaints related to civil and political rights, while seven were related to economic, social and cultural rights and three were labelled “other issues”.

Twenty-four of the complaints involved the right to a fair trial and three were about freedom of residence and movement.

The NIHR was formed by His Majesty in 2009 to work with state agencies and draft Bahrain’s rights reports, hold conferences and workshops and develop efforts to promote human rights. It was restructured in 2013 and had new members appointed for a renewable four-year term.

sandy@gdn.com.bh

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