On February 11, Huwayda Ahrraf and Radhika Sainath were arrested in Bahrain after they attended an anti-monarchy protest with an American activist group called Witness Bahrain. The story of their arrest and subsequent release to the United States, told in a forthcoming piece from War News Radio, got me curious about how other activists in Bahrain continue to face human rights abuses under Bahrain’s government. Earlier this week, Bahrain’s National Commission released a report detailing their progress in implementing recommendations from the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, or BICI, which outlined human rights reforms in November 2011. While King Hamad of Bahrain claims that the National Commision’s progress report is evidence of positive change, international observers and advocacy groups maintain the improvements are superficial at best. One such group is Bahrain Watch, an organization which launched a website called “Government Inaction” earlier this month to monitor the BICI reforms. On Thursday, I spoke with Bahrain Watch founding member Bill Marczak about the shortcomings of the BICI reports, the Government Inaction project, and whether “cyberactivism” can really improve government accountability.
Additional footage from Al Jazeera, and images from Bahrain Watch.