Constructive Dialogue with the Human Rights Community

June 27, 2012 § 1 Comment

I received a letter yesterday from Mr. Brian Dooley, of Human Rights First, inviting me to debate him in a public forum on the subject of the medical professionals in Bahrain who were prosecuted over events at Salmaniya Hospital during February and March 2011. I was preparing a private response to what I believed was a private letter when I saw that Human Rights First had made the letter public.

Throughout my time in Washington, I have always been happy to discuss the situation in Bahrain with concerned members of the human rights community. We all benefit from the frank exchange of views done in the spirit of seeking truth and fostering understanding. It has been my experience that private discussions offer the best venue for facilitating such discussions.

Last November, Bahrain’s government fully accepted the conclusions of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. In addition to highlighting significant wrongdoing by the government, the report also directly contradicted Mr. Dooley’s contention that the 20 medical professionals in question were arrested for “treating protestors.” My blog post reiterated these conclusions in an effort to highlight the facts of the case. The facts are clear and should not be discounted because they are inconvenient.

We need a serious effort to understand the situation in Bahrain and work constructively to resolve it. Human rights groups have an important role to play in this. I would like to extend an invitation to Mr. Dooley to contact my office to arrange a meeting so that we can discuss this matter further. I look forward to having a constructive dialogue with him.

§ One Response to Constructive Dialogue with the Human Rights Community

  • It is your duty, as your nation’s spokesperson in the U.S., to address the concerns of citizens and groups in the U.S. about Bahrain, and there is no better place to do that than in a public forum.

    If you have nothing to hide and you feel your nation’s position is defensible, then you should have nothing to worry about, after all.

    What use is a private discussion to the U.S. and to the media? Your comments would not be on the record, and they should be.

    Bahrain is not tear-gassing neighborhoods in private. They are not shooting rubber bullets in private. Public actions demand a public response.

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