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  Green light for Key Workshop


 A HUMAN rights group has been given the green light to hold a workshop on preventing torture it was earlier stopped from holding.


The Social Development Ministry had initially rejected a request by the Bahrain Human Rights Society to hold the event.


The ministry had claimed the society's workshop contradicted several articles of the law regulating the activities of associations and that it wasn't allowed to conduct political workshops.


However, it later retraced its steps and allowed the society permission to go ahead with the workshop on schedule on Thursday.


Society secretary-general Dr Abdulla Al Deerazi said the latest move was a positive step for Bahrain, by allowing them to carry on with the three-day workshop as planned.


"We had earlier asked the ministry to facilitate visas for foreign speakers of the workshop because the immigration authorities were reportedly no longer able to deliver visas without the approval of the ministry," he said.


"The ministry rejected our request, saying that the workshop contradicted with the Bahraini law of associations, which states that societies may not get involved in political activities.


"But when we explained to the authorities that we are conducting purely a human rights workshop and that discussing torture doesn't go against the law, they then lifted the ban.


The workshop, which is organised in collaboration with the Association for the Prevention of Torture, will take place at the Elite Hotel in Sanabis.


It will discuss monitoring of preventive detention, admission to places of detention and human rights in the period of detention with a focus on the basic rules for the treatment of prisoners.


Other topics include managing preventive visit to detention places, the Istanbul Protocol, the use of international human rights mechanisms and the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture.


"The event aims to discuss the importance of independent watchdogs to monitor detention centres, conduct visits with detainees and draw up strategic plans to defend and support human rights on a national level," said Dr Al Deerazi.


An international human rights defender agency, the Observatory, had issued a plea to top officials in Bahrain, requesting them to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders.


It sent the plea to His Majesty King Hamad, Foreign Affairs Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Justice and Islamic Affairs Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa and the Permanent Mission of Bahrain to the United Nations in Geneva.

Publisher: GDN


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