فاطمة لبراهيم - - سميرة السادة - عطية الله روحاني - ماريا سكالا الدوي- عبدالله عبدالعزيز القراشي - جي أم صقر - المحامية سهي الخرزجي - محمد آشفاق
Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS)
Year established: 2004 Short historical background Objectives
The Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS) is a Bahraini human rights organization established in November 2004. The Society was established mainly to consolidate the principles of human rights in the Kingdom. It has remarkable achievements in protecting housemaids and fighting for women’s rights in Bahrain. The Society has sought to support women’s rights activists’ campaign for the introduction of personal status law to protect women in cases of divorce and child custody. In association with the National Coalition to Stop Violence Against Women, the BHRWS launched the Respect Movement, a petition in support of the Personal Status Law. The second part of the Respect Movement’s Agenda is a petition for laws to protect housemaids, who are not currently protected by Bahrain’s Labor Laws.
1) To play a role in consolidating the principles of human rights in the Kingdom at both thought and practice levels. It endeavors to stop and eradicate all effects of any violation of those rights, and to guarantee non-discrimination between citizens on the basis of race, language, religion, sex or opinion
2) To contribute towards raising the standards of democratic practice in the Kingdom, to form an integrated and balanced model, based on the spread of freedoms, guarantee of political pluralism, respect for the rule of law and to guarantee the right to political, civil, economic, social and cultural development
3) To consolidate the principles of human rights in the Kingdom inspired by the message of all divine faiths, the values of human heritage, the Kingdom's Constitution, the rules and concepts of the National Action Charter and the principles adopted by international human rights instruments
4) To strive for membership of the Kingdom in regional and international conventions and agreements concerning human rights.
The Society strives to achieve its objectives by the following means:
1) Drawing up of an integrated plan to enhance and develop the protection of human rights in the Kingdom, and propose means for implementing this plan.
2) Expression of opinions when consulted on public or private issues related to the protection and respect of human rights, citizens' rights, rights of groups and organizations, and on how to defend and boost them
3) Submission of proposals and recommendations to the concerned authorities in all that concerns the protection, support and improvement of human rights
4) Expression of opinions and drafting of necessary proposals and recommendations on issues presented to it by concerned authorities and parties, in connection with human rights protection and enhancement
5) Receiving complaints concerning human rights, monitoring and studying those complaints and referring appropriate cases to concerned bodies, and following them up, or enlightening the complainants about the procedures to be followed and assisting them with those procedures, settling them and solving the complaints with the concerned bodies.
6) Enhancing and guaranteeing consistency between the national legislations, regulations and practices, and the international human rights conventions to which the Kingdom is a state- party, and seeking their effective implementation.
7) Participating as a part of Bahraini delegations in gatherings, and meetings of local and international organizations concerned with the protection of human rights.
8) Information dissemination and publication of human rights and the efforts exerted to fight all forms of discrimination, including sectarian and religious discrimination through the media (using the press, radio, television, etc.) and educational means to increase public awareness.
9) Contributing opinions in the preparation of reports that the Kingdom is obliged to submit periodically to human rights commissions and organizations in the implementation of international agreements, and in reply to inquiries concerning these issues.
10) Submission of proposals necessary to strengthen the institutional and technical capabilities in the fields of human rights, including technical preparation and training of staff employed by institutions concerned with public freedoms, political civil, economic, social and cultural rights in the Kingdom in order to raise their competence
11) Cooperation with the United Nations (UN), all other organizations within the UN, regional and national organizations in other countries concerned with the protection and enhancement of human rights
12) Issuing of reports on the situation and the Kingdom's efforts in the field of human rights at government, legislative and public levels.
• Various reports on Women’s Rights in Bahrain and BHRWS’ Respect Movement (http://bhrws.org/eng/index.php?action=view&page_id=13)
The 'Respect' Movement is under the umbrella of the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society calling the Government of Kingdom of Bahrain to implement key reforms, which include the following:
- Establishing and enforcing equal protection for domestic workers under labor laws. This includes provisions for at least one day off per week, limits to working hours, overtime pay, and other benefits. Outlining provisions for labor conditions through specialized employment contracts for domestic workers are not a substitute for equal protection under the law.
- Reforming of the kafala (“sponsorship') visa system. Employment visas that tie workers to their employers make it difficult for workers to change employers, even in cases of abuse, and sometimes require them to obtain their employer's consent before leaving the country. Workers' visas should not be linked to employers.
- Implementing stronger monitoring of labor-recruitment agencies. Both sending and receiving countries should more rigorously regulate, monitor, and enforce minimum standards for labor-recruitment agencies. The Government should set clear standards for recruitment fees or eliminate these fees completely.
- Ensuring that migrants have access to justice and support services. Migrants accused of committing crimes must have access to interpreters or legal aid. Migrants who suffer abuse should have access to shelter, legal aid, medical care, and temporary residence status. The Government should ensure speedy and transparent mechanisms to resolve wage disputes, and they must prosecute cases of abuse against migrants through the criminal justice system.
(Note: The labor-sending countries include: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. The countries of destination include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Yemen, as well as Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore)
Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society
Al Doseri Business Center, Suite 204
P.O.Box 15055, Manama
Kingdom of Bahrain.
ph (973) 17536222, ext: 204
fax (973) 17531822