On 19 April 2010, the Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS) received correspondence from the Ministry of Social Development denying them permission to hold a capacity building workshop in the area of human rights, which was scheduled to take place from 27 to 29 May 2010. The Bahrain Human Rights Society is an organisation established in 2001 to promote human rights in Bahrain.
On 21 March 2010, the Bahrain Human Rights Society had sent a letter to the Bahraini Ministry of Social Development requesting that they address the Directorate of Immigration and Passports to facilitate the granting of visas to outside participants in the planned training session on capacity building in the area of human rights. The Directorate of Immigration and Passports requires approval from the Ministry of Social Development before issuing visas for outside participants, a practice which has reportedly only begun recently. On 19 April 2010, the Bahrain Human Rights Society received a response from the Ministry of Social Development stating that “after reviewing the request and the program of the event, it was found that the workshop contradicts with the objectives of BHRS by-laws, Decree Law No. (21) of 1989 Promulgating the Law on associations and social and cultural clubs and organizations working in the field of youth sports and private institutions, and in particular Article 18, which states: 'The association may not get involved in political activities'. And therefore we are unable to approve your request mentioned above, this stresses the need to comply with ... the law.”
The Bahrain Human Rights Society has since stated that Decree Law 21 of 1989 and its procedures “contradict the international conventions which Bahrain has committed itself to, which provide for the dissemination of human rights [information] and working principles and ensure freedom of action of civil society organisations” and denied that the workshop contradicts the BHRS by-laws.
Front Line believes that the denial of permission for said workshop is a result of the legitimate and peaceful activities in defence of human rights carried out by the Bahrain Human Rights Society