Bahrain: Digital security expert Mohammed Al-Maskati honoured as Access Now Human Rights Hero at RightsCon

13.06.19

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) offers congratulations to Bahraini activist and digital security consultant Mohammed Al-Maskati as one of five recipients of Access Now’s Human Rights Heroes Award. Al-Maskati was recognised “for his outstanding efforts to defend human rights by providing digital security training to human rights defenders and vulnerable groups throughout the Middle East and North Africa” (MENA).

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet presented the award to Al-Maskati, and four other winners, at RightsCon Tunis, which is taking place on 11-14 June 2019. At the ceremony, Al-Maskati talked about the human rights crisis in Bahrain and “the need to use the Internet to promote positive change in the MENA region.”

Al-Maskati was honoured for his work developing Arabic security tools and manuals, and providing training in Arabic. “Having access to Arabic-language training material allows human rights activists in one of the world’s most oppressive regions to be able to avoid government surveillance and retaliation,” notes Access Now.

GCHR Executive Director Khalid Ibrahim said, "We are proud that Mohammed Al-Maskati is part of our team. He contributed massively to the digital protection of hundreds of human rights defenders across the MENA region. No doubt he saved many lives. The GCHR Advisory Board and staff would like to thank Mohammed for his endless efforts to support our work.”

Al-Maskati provides training to human rights defenders in GCHR’s network through specialised workshops and is GCHR’s volunteer IT Expert. He’s also a Digital Protection Consultant of the MENA region for Front Line Defenders.

In 2018, Al-Maskati launched digital-protection.tech, a website to “provide advice on protecting individuals and organisations in the digital world and the Internet.” He is also the founder of a rapid response team available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help resolve digital attacks.

Join us! GCHR is involved in the following panels at RightsCon:

12 June - 20 Years Since the Human Rights Defenders Declaration was Adopted at the UN, Over 150 HRDs Got Together in Paris to Celebrate Achievements, Discuss Current Challenges and Devise an Action Plan

13 June – Old Crisis, Novel Means: Applying new tools to encourage company action in support of civic freedoms and HRDs

14 June - Democracy’s enemy at home: The need for export ban on cybersecurity and surveillance companies against democracy and human rights