[text taken from http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/about-us]
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, registered with the Bahraini Ministry of Labor and Social Services since July 2002. Despite an order by the authorities in November 2004 to close, the BCHR is still functioning after gaining a wide local and international support for its struggle to promote human rights in Bahrain.
” Our vision is a prosperous democratic country free of discrimination and other violations of human rights.
Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja (left) and Nabeel Rajab (right), former Directors of the BCHR marching during protests in Manama, Bahrain.
The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) has a responsibility and commitment to defend people whose rights are violated. it aims to inspire hope and raise awareness to get people involved in documenting and reporting on human rights violations, and to stand up for their rights.
Structure and Funding
The 26-founding members of the BCHR include prominent doctors, lawyers, journalists, and NGO leaders, men and women. The vast majority of its operations are carried out in Bahrain, while a small ‘office in exile’, founded in 2011, is maintained in Copenhagen, Denmark, to coordinate its international advocacy program. The BCHR currently receives a small amount of funding from the Sigrid Rausing Trust – a non-political charity based in the UK, dedicated to defending and promoting human rights – and the Bertha Foundation. The BCHR staff is employed almost entirely on a voluntary basis. The President in 2012 was Nabeel Rajab, who had served a two year prison sentence for charges related to freedom of expression; and was released on 24 May 2014. Rajab was sentenced to six months in prison for tweeting, upheld on appeal in 2015, and later freed in July 2015. Vice-President S. Yousif Al-Muhafdah is currently exiled in Germany. Most of the staff inside Bahrain remain anonymous, including a second Vice-President and the Documentation Team. Much of BCHR’s work is carried out on a voluntary basis. To read more about the BCHR’s Registration and Board of Directors click here.
The BCHR receives small amounts of funding from the Sigrid Rausing Trust, the Bertha Foundation, Norwegian Human Rights Fund, Hivos, Action Aid, the Rafto Foundation for Human Rights and the National Endowment for Democracy, as well as small grants from partners for advocacy efforts.
For more than eleven years, the BCHR has carried out many projects, including advocacy, training, workshops, seminars, media campaigns and reporting to UN mechanisms and international NGOs.
Zainab Al-Khawaja (left) and Nabeel Rajab (right), both active members of the BCHR marching during protests in Bahrain. Both have been in and out of prison on charges varying from “showing contempt for the regime” and “participation in illegal assembly”.
The Martin Ennals Award, Final Nominee, 2012
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights was awarded with a prize from the Martin Ennals Foundation after being named as a ‘final nominee’ for its work reporting on human rights violations in Bahrain. The Martin Ennals Foundation stated that “despite harassment by the government, who warn of legal action against the Center’s members if they continue their activities, the BCHR provides information to international NGOs and the diplomatic community in Bahrain and advocates locally and internationally in support of demands for democratic change in the Gulf Kingdom”. The decision was made by the Martin Ennals Award Jury which consisted of the following organizations: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, the International Federation for Human Rights, the World Organization Against Torture, Frontline, the International Commission of Jurists, German Diakonie, the International Service for Human Rights and HURIDOCS.