Promoting the OPCAT in Bahrain
On the invitation of the Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS), the APT participated in an NGO workshop on the OPCAT in Bahrain on 10-11 September 2008. Its aim was to familiarise civil society and government representatives with the OPCAT and promote its ratification and effective implementation in Bahrain. The workshop was open to NGOs, as well as to members of parliament and concerned government offices. It was attended by around 40 participants, mainly from civil society organisations, complemented by two representatives from the Public Prosecution, a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a member of parliament and journalists.
One of the main outcomes of the workshop was the adoption of recommendations calling for Bahrain to ratify the OPCAT and allow independent monitoring. Participants also set-up a follow-up committee composed of 4 NGO activists. The workshop was well covered by print media, with articles published in several local newspapers.
This was the first mission of the APT to a Gulf state. Since 2007, the APT has strengthened contacts with government officials and NGOs at the side of UN events in Geneva. It held several meetings with representatives of the Bahraini authorities in Geneva in 2007 and in May 2008, during which interest for the OPCAT was expressed. The meetings were friendly and possible areas of cooperation were discussed.
On the occasion of the workshop, the APT met with government representatives, during which APT's contribution to the implementation of Bahrain's Human Rights Action Plan and the prospect of Bahrain becoming the first state party to the OPCAT in the sub region were discussed.