Reports

Establishing of human rights institutions to whitewash human rights violations

Years ago, the Bahraini people took to the streets to demand political reforms and respect for human rights. The only progress made by the Government of Bahrain was the development of bleaching strategies through its false monitoring bodies and social media platforms.


– For example, the Bahraini Ministry of the Interior, which is supposed to oversee the protection of the country’s citizen and internal security, has often been implicated in allegations of gross misconduct and a large number of human rights violations. There are proven allegations that the Public Prosecutor’s Office has been impeding the independence of the judiciary by filling the Ministry of the Interior with its former staff. There were also proven allegations of torture in order to extract false confessions from activists and human rights defenders.

– The General Secretariat of Grievances in the Ministry of the Interior, another supposedly independent secretariat established to ensure compliance with the Code of Conduct; it lacks impartiality and independence from the Ministry itself which is in charge of its organizing. Since its establishment in 2012, it has failed to hold prison staff accountable for misconduct and has failed to take immediate action to protect detainees from torture and other ill-treatment.

– The National Human Rights Institution was established in 2014 in response to strong criticism of the human rights situation in the country. Its tasks include the promotion, development and protection of human rights, which means that everyone must be treated equally regardless of religion, sex or race. In fact, systematic discrimination against the Shia majority is widespread, with ethnic-religious groups, especially the Bahraini and the Persian in the country, facing discrimination based on the intersection of religion and heritage.

Continuing violations of human rights

Since the government’s violent crackdown on protests, the promised reforms have not been achieved and the leaders of the protest movement, some of them elderly, have been in prison. Hundreds of citizens have been arbitrarily stripped of their citizenship, while activists and journalists who continue their work from exile risk retaliating against family members who remain in the country. Reports continue to be made of convictions regarding the appalling conditions of imprisonment and the lack of safety measures for Covid-19. Overcrowding and medical neglect have exacerbated the already dire situation within the prison, this situation prompted prisoners to carry out a peaceful sit-in in April 2021, protesting against the prison’s management leading to the spread of Corona virus  and the death of political prisoner Abbas Malallah. However, the authorities brutally suppressed the sit-in, assaulted and tortured prisoners, and many prisoners were taken to unknown places. This was followed by the tragic death of Hussein Barakat on June, just days after he was found infected with the Corona virus. Concerns have also been raised about the leader of the country’s political opposition, Hassan Mushimeh, and his deteriorating health situation after being denied medical care. 

The authorities had revoked the nationality of 300 citizens, most of them Shia activists and clerics, simply for peaceful expression. Moreover, torture of Shia opposition leaders and discrimination directed against Shia society, such as restrictions on religious rights and the demolition of Shia mosques and religious institutions is still ongoing.

There are reports of numerous complaints of religious discrimination received by human rights NGOs. Sectarian restrictions on Shia prisoners are well documented. Harassment methods range from verbal defamation, to the cutting off of prayers by prison staff and the confiscation of the prisoner’s religious property. Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Foundation reported that the Commission had met with both prisoners and prison officials and claimed that religious freedom was fully respected. This was widely seen by NGOs as another example of the publicity of the National Human Rights Foundation, where, despite its alleged independence from the Government, the institution was condemned for whitewashing human rights violations.

There were examples of opposition Bahraini figures who had been subjected to violations; among them, Sheikh Zahir Ashour, a Shi’ite opposition cleric and professor at the Scientific Estate of Islamic Studies, and Mr. Ali Abdel Hussein Alwazir, were subjected to arbitrary arrest, torture and denial of due process.
Human rights organizations have also called on the Bahraini authorities to open an urgent and independent investigation into the death of Bahraini citizen Hassan Abdel-Nabi in the midst of reports of medical neglect by the authorities overseeing the prison where he was serving his sentence. One of his cellmate prisoner, reported that prison authority had failed to give him and his colleague Hassan medication, prescribed by doctors, despite the serious deterioration of Hassan Abde The detained political leader Hassan Musheimeh, who played a major role in the peaceful protests in Bahrain during the Arab Spring, refused to waive any of his fundamental rights or accept preconditions in exchange for his release.

Conclusion

Four United Nations experts issued a report and a letter to the Bahraini authorities for their “documented violations of the rights of citizens” and their record of practices including enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention and torture. The report stated that the violations were contrary to the principles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Bahrain had acceded and which had the force of law and the force of application, as well as the violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the same context, 16 rights organizations issued a statement demanding the release of the Bahraini academic Abdul Jalil Sinkis , a human rights blogger, who has been on hunger strike for weeks.

Systematic ill-treatment of prisoners in Bahrain has become a crisis; In the absence of an independent investigation by United Nations officials, the Government of Bahrain will continue to cover up these deaths.

The Government must take seriously human rights violations in the country rather than focusing its efforts on whitewashing violations. Regardless of the amount of money thrown into distortion, international condemnation must continue, as must stricter action until the Government takes meaningful action t stop these terrible violations.

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