Bahrain Mirror: In response to erroneous statements by the Bahraini embassy in London about the organization's planned work on Bahrain, Amnesty International issued a statement on (January 11, 2018) clarifying its recent discussions with the embassy and urged the authorities in general to respond positively to human rights concerns it raises and to its repeated requests for access to the country for it and other human rights organizations.
It explained that the Bahrain News Agency (BNA) published the annual report of the Bahraini embassy to the United Kingdom entitled, "Tireless efforts to confirm the Kingdom's presence and to identify its positions and defend its interests". The report included a paragraph that read: "The embassy's efforts with Amnesty International have yielded positive results, including the organization's goodwill initiative not to issue any reports on Bahrain's human rights file until February 2018 and to only briefly address the situation in Bahrain in its annual report, in addition to dedicating two pages to the Kingdom of Bahrain in the organization's forthcoming report in the month of February in such a way that the Kingdom is able to present any clarifications or responses relating to matters of interest in it."
In no way did Amnesty International commit not to publish any document related to Bahrain before February 2018, nor to restrict the Annual Report entry on Bahrain to a particular length, nor to submit the entry for comment to the Bahraini authorities before publication, as erroneously indicated by the annual report of the Bahraini embassy in London.
Amnesty stressed that "The statements are a serious misrepresentation of the outcome of a meeting held between representatives of Amnesty International and the Bahraini embassy in the United Kingdom on 2 November 2017," adding that "the meeting discussed ways to improve communication between Amnesty International and the Bahraini authorities and specifically the most effective means for the organization to receive responses to requests for clarification relating to its ongoing monitoring of and reporting on human rights violations in the country."
Besides, the organization submitted requests for clarification on a number of ongoing human rights concerns to both the Interior Minister and Justice Minister and provided copies of both letters to the Bahraini embassy in London at the same time. Amnesty International was disappointed not to receive a response to the requests despite the assurances it had been given that the embassy would make efforts to obtain responses to such correspondence.
Amnesty International indicated that it has written to the Bahraini embassy to the United Kingdom to raise its concerns about the statements published in its annual report and to request that they should be correct or clarified.