The Bahrani Government has passed a law for 2006 on the protection of society against terrorist acts. This law has been described as vague and broad by humanitarian and human rights organizations. It includes: incitement and promotion of regime change by unlawful means, offending to friend states and action to discredit the regime image. This makes it difficult to distinguish between criminal acts and the right of people to freedom of expression.
The Bahrani authorities have increasingly used such legislations to imprison activists calling peacefully for regime change in an attempt to clamp down on human rights defenders. These activists were tried with the same sentences as two Bahraini citizens fighting in ISIS. Bahraini authority has also executed peaceful activists without having chance to fair trial.
The denationalization of citizens without proper prosecution procedures is an arbitrary act and constitutes a violation for Bahrain human rights obligations. International reports revealed that, within seven years, a group of 985 individuals had been arbitrary stripped of their nationality either by court order, royal order or ministerial order on charge of forming terrorist group. On the light of the abovementioned abuses, an amendment to Bahrain’s citizenship law 1963 has been carried out, on 2014, granting the Interior Ministry additional authority to revoke the citizenship of people who have no loyalty to the state. This law is now being used as weapon by the state to suppress human rights defenders and consolidate the repressive state programme.
With increasing international pressure and human rights organizations, the king restored the nationality of 551individuals in 2019. However, these persons continue to suffer the consequences of denationalization decisions and continue to face enormous obstacles in the enjoyment of fundamental human rights.
There is a growing problem of stateless people, known as Bedoon, most of them are Shiite. In Bahrain, stateless people are denied the right to hold legal residency, are not allowed the right to travel abroad, buy houses, and to hold government jobs. Recently, the Bahraini government issued regulations preventing them from sending their children to public schools and to receive free medical care. The stateless can also get deported at any time without regard to international human rights instruments. International reports have denounced the provisions of revocation of citizenship in Bahrain for violating international standards and Bahrain’s obligations under international law, stressing the failure of the Bahraini authorities to respect their obligation to prevent, avoid and reduce statelessness.
Further, Bahrain Government carried out random naturalization, in contravention of government regulations and royal decrees, with the aim of changing the demographic composition in the interest of Sunnis. It is well known that the Shiites, who are the oppressed majority, constitute about 70 percent of the total Bahraini people.
Although it constitutes the majority in Bahraini society; The Shiites did not have rights commensurate with their natural size at the leadership and economic levels. The Al Khalifa Government adopted a policy of disfranchisement towards the Shiites, in addition it pursued a policy that led to the spread of the difference between Sunnis and Shiites. It has even included the exclusion of Shiites in its contracts concluded with global companies. It removed Shia workers and heath cadres and replaced them with Jordanian doctors. This persecution against Shia has generated a natural reaction translated by the vast uprising on2011 that has broken out in the face of the authority and remain in place until this moment.
In August 2017, United States Secretary pointed out the discrimination of Shias in Bahrain, saying, that “Bahrain must stop discriminating against the Shia communities.”
European Parliament as well, adopted on 2016, with a large majority, a resolution condemning human rights abuses performed by Bahraini authorities, and strongly called for an end to the ongoing repression against the country’s human rights defenders, political opposition and civil society.
In the report of the United Nations Independent Experts Committee, which monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by its state parties, it condemned the stripping of many of their nationalities and stressed that “Shias are targeted on the basis of their beliefs and opinions,” as the Government dissolved the National Islamic Accord Association, closed religious organizations, restricted internet use and banned Shia religious leaders from preaching and preaching.
Bahrain has a long record of human rights abuses, authoritarian states and their allies are often innovators when it comes to circumventing mechanisms promoting accountability. It resorted to create a large number of human rights NGOs, many of which are engaged in whitewashing human rights abuses. The members of Bahrain National Institute for Human Rights (NIHR) in charge of defending human rights are appointed by the King, and thus lack independence.
Sometimes these organizations are blatant in their support for actions that clearly contravene international norms of human rights. On Jan 2017 Bhrain NHR released a statement actually supporting the execution of the three Bahrainis citizens. It also praised Bahrain’s problematic anti-terror law, which has been criticized for violating freedom of expression and assembly. This was flagrant and shocking in the human rights community. Moreover, Bahrain also relies on influential allies to provide political cover in the international arena such as Britain, which views Bahrain as a trading partner it does not want to lose.