World Organisation Against Torture

Geneva, 10 October 2005. In connection to the mission carried out between 25 and 28 September 2005 by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), in order to assess the situation of human rights defenders in Bahrain, OMCT would like to emphasize and comment on several issues addressed by the Bahraini press following the departure of the delegation from Manama.

Firstly, OMCT reiterates what was said in the press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain, held on 28 September 2005, that no conclusions will be made regarding the mission before the publication of the report, which is expected to be issued in the coming two months.

Secondly, with respect to the work of OMCT on victims of torture in Bahrain (in the 1990s, OMCT addressed urgent appeals and letters to the authorities condemning the systematic practice of torture at that time), during the mission to Bahrain, OMCT discussed the issue of compensation to victims of torture, the recognition by the state of its responsibility in the previous practice of torture and the prosecution of those who committed torture.

Thirdly, OMCT would like to react to two articles published in the Bahraini press recently. The first article was published by Al-Wassat daily newspaper on 1 October 2005, using in page 6 OMCT logo without any authorisation. OMCT would like to remind that the use of its logo is strictly reserved to the internal work of the organisation and that no one is authorised to use it for any purpose. The insertion of the logo of OMCT in the archive photograph of a previous protest organised by the Committee of victims of torture is an act which can mislead the reader. In this regard, OMCT refers to its position regarding victims of torture stated above.

The second article was published by Al-Ayam on September 29, 2005, in its first and sixth page. The newspaper said that OMCT director, Mr. Eric Sottas, stated that Bahrain is a champion in the region with regards to human rights. This information does not adequately reflect what was said. Recognising the important steps in accomplishing greater respect of human rights after the 2001 reforms, Mr. Sottas had actually added that Bahrain, to become a champion of human rights in the region, had to become a State party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), as well as address the just and fair settlement of the issue of the victims.