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Smear campaign against free expression

A large number of fake human rights and civil society organisations have sprung to life in Bahrain, when in reality they are fronts for greater government control, says a new report by the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR).

These mock rights institutions are extensions of the Royal Court, the Prime Minister's Court or the Interior Ministry, among other branches of state, says BCHR. As far back as 2006, 100 legitimate human rights groups, as well as political and professional figures, sent a letter to the King of Bahrain expressing concern about this secret network.

"One of the aims of this network is smearing the reputation of the independent human rights defenders and opposition's political activists, and creating fictitious and fake civil society institutions and attempting to penetrate the independent ones," says the report.

In fact, BCHR explains, this scheme of false rights groups was a reaction to an acceleration of human rights violations being documented - sectarian discrimination, torture, violations of freedom of expression, human trafficking - and passed on to international rights groups.

In parallel to this phenomenon, legitimate rights defenders have been harassed and slandered, including through the use of the government media. Recently, Nabeel Rajab, President of BCHR, has been targeted in the media after he was elected as a Board member of a regional network in Asia, the Gulf and the Middle East.

For more information, please see the full report:

Presenting documents that reveal the "GONGOs" organisations in Bahrain

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