Viewing cable 04MUSCAT2231
Title: MINISTRY CONSIDERS HUMAN RIGHTS NGO

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
04MUSCAT22312004-12-21 12:24:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Muscat
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS MUSCAT 002231 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
DEPT FOR NEA/ARPI, DRL/DAN DOLAN 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PHUM EAID SOCI MU
SUBJECT: MINISTRY CONSIDERS HUMAN RIGHTS NGO 
 
REF: MUSCAT 02079 
 
¶1.  (SBU) The Ministry of Social Development is considering 
the proposed establishment of a human rights center in Oman. 
In response to a letter from activist Abdullah al-Barami 
(reftel) (protect), the Ministry met with him December 6 to 
discuss the idea.  The Director of Charitable Associations 
and Funds requested al-Barami to provide a written disclosure 
to the Ministry on numerous details, including: 
 
-- Al-Barami's background; 
-- if al-Barami believes the general populace shares his 
interest; 
-- if al-Barami believes the Sultanate is in need of a human 
rights center and why; 
-- what is his goal behind establishing a center; 
-- his specific qualifications to run such a center; and 
-- a list of parties he has contacted in an "official" 
capacity for the center. 
 
¶2. (SBU) On the latter issue, the Ministry strongly reminded 
al-Barami that the Private Associations Law prohibits him 
from acting on behalf of an establishment that has not been 
announced.  (Note: Al-Barami signed his original letter to 
the Ministry using the title "Director of the Human Rights 
Center," a presumption that evidently irked the bureaucrats. 
End note.)  In addition, the Ministry suggested to al-Barami 
that the establishment of a human rights center would be on 
the principles of an "association" and subject to the Private 
Associations Law, which requires a founding committee of not 
less than twenty members. 
 
¶3.  (SBU) Al-Barami responded promptly on December 8 to the 
Ministry's request for more information.  He provided details 
on his background, including his study of international 
relations at the University of Brussels in Cairo, that would 
qualify him as the center's principal founder.  In a petulant 
manner, however, he suggested that the Ministry conduct a 
public survey of its own to gauge the popularity of 
establishing a human rights center.  In another brusque 
statement, al-Barami reminded the Ministry that Oman is not a 
"police country" that prohibits him from speaking with other 
embassies and contacts friendly to the Sultanate.  Al-Barami 
provided copies of letters he sent to the U.S., British, and 
Dutch Embassies.  He marketed the establishment of a human 
rights center as a foreign policy achievement for Oman, 
saying it would serve to increase the popularity and 
credibility of the Sultanate both regionally and 
internationally. 
 
¶4.  (SBU) COMMENT: Al-Barami's barbed response to the 
Ministry may not help advance his cause.  Moreover, the 
Private Associations Law prohibits associations from engaging 
in politics or matters outside social, cultural or charitable 
activities -- a gray area for most human rights NGOs.  In 
light of this, and the considerably lengthy registration 
process, it is unlikely that a human rights "association" 
would be approved very quickly.  We are nevertheless 
encouraged that the Ministry did not seek to reject the 
proposal outright.  The Embassy will continue to monitor 
further developments and, where appropriate, provide advice 
and assistance. 
BALTIMORE