A brief look at Human rights violations: (part 5) Bahrain

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Publish Date : 08/29/2018 16:12
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political and social media activists continued to be targeted, both by the security forces and by the judiciary in Bahrain.

Reports and statistics from various international organizations and news agencies indicate that the rate of human rights violations in Bahrain has been much higher than the past. In this report we enumerate some of these violations from Mid-June till July 2018.

1. The Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, the largest opposition political group in Bahrain, has announced recording 5,098 victims of torture in Bahrain since the start of the peaceful movement in 2011, noting that since the onset of 2018, 201 victims of torture have been registered so far. despite Bahrain's ratification of the Convention against Torture, it is still locked in the drawers, as the authorities practice the most severe physical and psychological torture from the moment they arrest activists and in secret interrogation rooms throughout the period of imprisonment to extract confessions, force them to abandon their civil activity or human rights work or to instill fear and terror to force citizens to stop claiming their rights.
Al-Wefaq added that the crimes of torture against prisoners of opinion left many of them killed inside the prisons of the regime or during their release from prison, adding that many of the released detainees still suffer from diseases to this day. They were subjected to intimidation, abuse, threats, ill-treatment, sexual assault, beatings and electrocution. Al-Wefaq stressed that torture is a systematic policy practiced by the authorities and it's a price that those who demand democracy and real reform in Bahrain are forced to pay.

2. Amnesty International’s research concludes that the security forces have even resorted to torturing or otherwise ill-treating human rights defenders, both men and women. During the period between June 2016 and June 2017, at least 169 critics or their relatives were arrested, summoned, interrogated, prosecuted, imprisoned, banned from travel or threatened. Human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, political activists and leaders, Shi’a clerics, and peaceful protesters have been particularly impacted.

3. The Bahraini authorities have also targeted the only independent newspaper in Bahrain, al-Wasat, temporarily suspending its online edition in January 2017 and arbitrarily closing it down entirely in June.

4. According to a report by ‘Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain’, there has been a rise in suicides in Bahrain, primarily among migrant workers. The rise in suicides is a testament to the abysmal conditions that these workers endure. Physical abuse, forced labor, debt bondage, poor living conditions, and isolation are among some of the reasons many expat workers feel the need to take their own lives.
While the government has no direct relation in the rise of expat worker suicides, their lack of cooperation along with the lack of cooperation from companies involved has not been a positive factor. According to a study from the Bahrain Medical Bulletin the main component of the worry and anxiety of expat workers is financial issues. the Bahraini government continues to fail to prosecute or convict any forced labor offenders and frequently treated potential cases of forced labor as labor violations instead of treating them as serious crimes.

5. The Bahrain Forum for Human Rights (BFHR) said that ending the security siege on Duraz – which lasted nearly 750 days and was imposed by the security authorities without any legal justification announced by the parties that implemented it – and ending the security measures related to the house arrest of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, which lasted for 413 days since May 23, 2017, do not eliminate the right to hold those who were involved in the violations accountable. These violations included violating the freedom of movement, disturbing ambulances, disrupting communication networks and causing financial losses to private investors. In addition, other serious violations have been committed, such as using excessive force to break up the Duraz peaceful sit-in on May 23, 2017, which resulted in five deaths and hundreds of arrests or injuries, the BFHR added.
321 citizens were arbitrarily arrested during and because of the peaceful assembly in Duraz, hundreds of provocative materials from hate speeches were published against citizens because of their political views, which opposed the revocation of the nationality of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, and numerous violations were committed against more than 20 thousand residents in this region, including violating the right to access information (Internet), which violates section 2 of article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

6. The Human Rights Committee has released its report on civil and political rights in Bahrain and is concerned about human rights situation in the country. For instance:
- The Committee is concerned that the Act on the Protection of Society from Acts of Terrorism provides for an overbroad definition of terrorism that is susceptible to wide interpretation and which may result in violations on the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly. The Committee is also concerned at reports of the extensive use of the Act outside the scope of terrorism, including against human rights defenders and political activists.
- violence against women, including domestic violence, remains a serious problem in the State party. Article 353 of the Penal Code exempts perpetrators of rape from prosecution and punishment if they marry their victims and article 334 of the Penal Code reduces the penalties for perpetrators of crimes committed in the name of so-called honour.
- The Committee is concerned at reports of excessive and disproportionate use of lethal force and at reports of enforced disappearances, torture, arbitrary detention and threats against civilians involved in peaceful demonstrations for political and democratic change.
- The Committee is concerned at allegations that torture and ill-treatment are often practiced by law enforcement officials including as a means to elicit confessions.
- the Committee is concerned about reports of inhuman prison conditions, including serious overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, inadequate access to drinking water and unhygienic toilet facilities, particularly in the Jau prison.
- The Committee notes with concern the State party’s assertion that there are no refugees in Bahrain and the lack of a national legal framework for the identification and protection of refugees and asylum seekers.
- The Committee is concerned about reports indicating that, in practice, the judiciary is neither fully independent nor impartial.





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