BCHR representatives are currently traveling to Brussels and Amsterdam to build links with institutions and NGOs working in human rights within the EU.

BCHR president Abdulhadi Al Khawaja and vice president Nabeel Rajab will be discussing principal human rights issues in Bahrain with EU stakeholders and NGO officials.

Meetings will be held with representatives of the three main institutions (EU Council and Member States representatives, the EU Commission and the European Parliament), as well as with key human rights NGOs based in Brussels, Amsterdam and London. "We hope to learn more about the EU's political instruments working for the protection and promotion of human rights," president Abdulhadi Al Khawaja said. "As well as sensitizing EU stakeholders to the most pressing human rights concerns in Bahrain and the GCC. We will be discussing strategies for EU officials to raise them with Bahraini authorities."We are also working to build long term relationships with EU stakeholders and NGOs.

"Focus of the meetings will include the following issues: EU global human rights instruments related to human rights and human rights defenders,torture, Ethnic and sectarian discrimination, political naturalizations,freedom of expression, Woman rights , family law,closure of BCHR,restrictive laws and migrant workers.

"We will also look at human rights in the context of free trade agreements - in particular, how to make human rights issues a part of EU relations with Bahrain and the GCC," Mr Al Khawaja added.

"In addition, we are hoping to gain perspective for further policy development on migrants, discrimination, poverty and women's rights, among other issues." The current visit is part of the BCHR's international capacity and relationships building programme. It follows meetings between BCHR members with officials in the USA during February this year, and with NGOs and United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva previously.