An international rights group says Israel has granted a work visa to its regional director that was denied earlier this year.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said Wednesday that Omar Shakir received the one-year work permit upon entering the country.

Iain Levine, an HRW program director, said Israel has "taken an important step to safeguard the principle of transparency and demonstrate their openness to criticism."

Israeli officials were not immediately available for comment.

The Interior Ministry said at the time of the ban in February that the group is biased against the Jewish state. Israel has long accused it and other rights groups of focusing excessively and unfairly on its actions.

HRW has issued a series of reports documenting alleged rights abuses by both Israel and the Palestinians.