The Omani Centre for Human Rights
The human rights situation in Oman has deteriorated sharply since 2011, as a result of restrictions imposed by the government on freedom of opinion, expression and association. The Omani Centre for Human Rights (formerly Omani Monitor for Human Rights) is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation that monitors and documents human rights issues in Oman. Its main focus is to document and expose rights violations, but it also aims to produce expert academic studies and propose practical ways to strengthen human rights activity in the country.
The Centre is based in the United Kingdom, because in Oman it is a crime to form a party or association active in politics or human rights. There are laws forbidding such activity, for example Article 134 of the Omani Penal Code and Royal Decree 38/2014. Rights activists there face legal harassment, threats and arrests by the security authorities. There is no independent human rights organisation in the country; the only such body is a government organisation and is not impartial.
The Omani Centre for Human Rights takes an entirely non-political approach, and works exclusively to human rights methods and norms. It neither engages in politics nor serves any political party against any other. Its concern is to monitor human rights violations whatever their source, and to promote awareness of human rights among all sectors of society. It has no religious/denominational or ethnic/sectarian affiliation, but champions the ideals of liberty and civil rights.
What we do
Based on our vision for Oman of human rights, freedom, justice and equality for all, our mission is to spread awareness of human rights in all areas of public life, including the rights of the child, women’s rights, and the right to freedom of opinion, expression and belief.
Our objectives are to:
o monitor and document human rights violations;
o raise and spread awareness of the concepts of human rights and freedoms;
o strengthen the rights of women and children;
o demand the right to form parties and associations, and strengthen the concept of peaceful civil activity; and
o spread democratic values and thinking based on respect for human rights.
The Centre works toward these objectives by:
o maintaining a website in Arabic and English;
o publishing human rights reports (quarterly, biannual and annual) in both languages;
o organising and taking part in international workshops and conferences concerning human rights; and
o producing and distributing visual materials (photos and videos) for the purpose of raising awareness of rights and freedoms, and to document specific cases.
Its work covers the following governorates of Oman: Al-Batinah North, Al-Batinah South, Muscat, Dhofar and Al-Sharqiya South.
Who we are
The management structure of the Omani Centre for Human Rights consists of:
o Founder and Chairman Nabhan al-Hanashi;
o Advisory: Khalfan Al Badwawi, Drewery Dyke
There is a data-gathering team of fieldworkers in Oman (names withheld for their own safety), and an Advisory Committee consisting of:
o an academic specialising in the Middle East (name withheld at his request); and
The Centre also has friendly relations with a number of other international human rights groups. Under its old name (Omani Monitor for Human Rights), the Centre has links with distinguished organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Alkarama, Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York, and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights.