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.