bahrain human rights
Business Interests Are More Valuable to Bahrain’s Western Allies Than Democracy and Human Rights
17 August, 2014 – Business Insider
I was sentenced to two years in prison for holding what authorities in Bahrain described as “illegal demonstrations” in 2012. In actual fact I was doing my legitimate and peaceful human rights work. I have been released in May this year, after serving the full sentence. My crime, if it can be called one, was defending the people’s rights and calling for reform in Bahrain. But under the pretext that I had not acquired permission from the government for my protest, I was locked away. The real reason was to keep me silent: my role as the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, my advocacy on the media, including twitter and my relations with international human rights organisations and the UN system made me a threat to the undemocratic government and the Al Khalifa family that runs the country. Now that I am released from prison I can speak freely and engage myself in human rights work again.
The fearsome possibility of being re-imprisoned can’t stop my work. During the time I that spent in prison, my country has transformed into a fully functioning security state. The police force, now made up of thousands of naturalised Bahrainis, mercenaries in all but name, control the streets. Law upon law has been passed to silence protesters. It is now illegal to demonstrate in the capital, or to criticise the king. Offenders are punished by a vindictive and non-independent judiciary. Parliament is too cowed to even question government ministers any longer. Also, prisons in Bahrain are at the moment with detained human rights defenders and political detainees. Since 2011, over 50,000 people have been in and out of jail. Over three thousands of them are now serving time in Bahrain’s prisons, in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. Mass beatings and torture is a common occurrence. Although I was not tortured as badly as others, I witnessed other prisoners being beaten and tortured in front of my eyes.
The reality Bahrain’s situation has not improved. Like most countries which saw uprising and revolution in 2011, it has only worsened. I am happy to say that the United States, one of Bahrain’s closest allies and whose Fifth Fleet is station in my country, is keenly aware of these problems, though whether they will pressure the government to improve the situation remains to be seen. More concerning – and infuriating – is the British response to Bahrain’s crisis. In 2013, the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs recommended that the FCO should “designate Bahrain as a ‘country of concern'” in its next Human Rights Report. Despite overwhelming evidences that the human rights situation had only continued to deteriorate, the British Government refused to upgrade Bahrain to a country of concern. The government reasoned that a new dialogue with the Crown Prince was promising evidence of improvement. Even when the dialogue quickly fell apart, Britain has refused to take further action. But the fact is that there can be no meaningful dialogue when most of Bahrain’s civil and political leaders are in prison. …more
And the Bullshit just keeps coming and the UN Continues the Charade
Switzerland read the following joint statement on the opening day of the 24th Session of the Human Rights Council on behalf of 47 co-sponsoring countries including the United States.
24th Session of the Human Rights Council
Item 2 – General Debate
Joint Statement on the OHCHR and the human rights situation in Bahrain
Geneva, 9 September 2013
Mr. President, I have the honour to make this statement on the OHCHR and the human rights situation in Bahrain on behalf of Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, the United States of America and Uruguay.
We take note of positive steps taken by the Government of Bahrain to implement the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry in order to improve the human rights situation in Bahrain. In particular, we note with appreciation the creation of the Office of the Police Ombudsman for the Ministry of Interior in August 2012 and its official launch in July 2013. We also note the creation of the Special Investigation Unit in the Public Prosecution Office in February 2012. We urge these institutions to proactively fulfil their mandate and encourage the Government of Bahrain to uphold its commitment to these institutions and their independence. We commend the continuation of the National Consensus Dialogue in August 2013 and encourage all sides to participate in a constructive and genuine way. We encourage the Government of Bahrain to continue to work with all participants in the Dialogue towards an open, democratic and inclusive society with equal opportunities for all.
However, the human rights situation in Bahrain remains an issue of serious concern to us. In particular, we share the concerns expressed by the OHCHR regarding the 22 recommendations made by the National Assembly of Bahrain on 28 July 2013. Any new legislation to implement these recommendations must meet international standards and ensure human rights are protected. We are also particularly concerned by the ongoing violation of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and the repression of demonstrations. We expect officials and protestors to refrain from any violence. Furthermore, we continue to be concerned about the continued harassment and imprisonment of persons exercising their rights to freedom of opinion and expression, including of human rights defenders. We are also concerned about the cases of revocation of nationality without due process, some of which might lead to statelessness. Lastly, we are concerned that those alleged to have committed human rights violations are often not held accountable.
We call upon the Government of Bahrain to address these concerns and expedite the implementation of the recommendations received from the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry and the recommendations Bahrain agreed to accept through the Universal Periodic Review. We urge the Government of Bahrain to enhance its cooperation with the OHCHR and allow for a fully comprehensive collaboration, including accepting an OHCHR follow-up mission. We also urge the Government of Bahrain to cooperate with the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, in particular the Special Rapporteur on torture, the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, together with any other Special Procedures that request to visit Bahrain and reschedule previously planned visits. Lastly, we encourage the Government of Bahrain to fulfil its obligation to submit its outstanding reports to the treaty bodies of the human rights conventions it has ratified.
We will continue to follow closely the human rights situation in Bahrain and invite the OHCHR, Special Procedures and the Human Rights Council to do so. We also invite the Government of Bahrain to further engage with the Human Rights Council. Thank you Mr. President. …source
HM the King issues four laws
4 February, 2014 – BNA
(BNA) – His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa today issued four laws for this year.
According to Law 1, Article 214 of Penal Code of 1976 was amended as follows:
“A prison sentence of a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years, and a fine of not less than BD 1000 and not more than BD 10000 shall be the penalty for any person who offends publically the Monarch of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the national flag or emblem, and the penalty shall be tightened if the offence was committed in the presence of the King.”
In Law 2/2013, HM the King ratified the by-law of the GCC Emergency Management Centre.