By GEOFFREY BEW Published: 17th December 2007

HUMAN rights activists in Bahrain have been armed with high-tech digital video cameras so they can document cases of abuse.

They are also expected to capture instances of poverty, the stories of alleged abuse victims, crimes committed against migrant workers and violence within families.

More than 30 cameras were distributed following a two-day course, which trained people on how to properly document violations and gave them tips on safety and security during filming.

Bukeni Waruzi, who made films about child soldiers that were used in cases at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Netherlands, led the workshop.

The African founded the AJEDI-Ka/Project Enfant Soldiers, an organisation that helps child soldiers, and also works as a programme co-ordinator for Africa and the Middle East for New York-based organisation Witness.

Held at the Bahrain Society for Human Rights, Adliya, the course was organised by the now-dissolved Bahrain Centre for Human Rights.

Twenty-two people from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia attended.

"They are expected to do documentaries of any kind on human rights violations and important issues related to human rights," said BCHR vice-president Nabeel Rajab.

"In all the reports we have done and all the statements we have made, we try to document human rights violations in the best way we can so that nobody can question their credibility.

"We believe that films will explain the situation to the world much more than just words or statements.

"If it has been captured on film or video it can be represented in a better way and can have a bigger impact."

Mr Rajab said the first films produced by activists were expected to be made in the coming weeks and would be distributed on Internet websites.

He told the GDN that the course was heavily subscribed, which showed there was a strong interest in human rights in Bahrain and the Gulf.

"We were amazed at the number of people who applied for the course and we were forced to turn down many applications because we did not have enough space," he said.

"But we are planning to repeat the course or hold a more advanced one.

"We want to strengthen this part of our work and try to train as many people as possible at a local and regional level."

geoff@gdn.com.bh

? Gulf Daily News