World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Bahrain must end worsening human rights clampdown

Bahrain must end worsening human rights clampdown, UN experts say

GENEVA (16 June 2017) - A group of United Nations human rights experts has urged the Government of Bahrain to halt its orchestrated crackdown on civil society.

“Over the past year, there has been a sharp deterioration of the human rights situation in the country,” the experts* said. “This has included unacceptable restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, aimed at muzzling any discordant voice and suppressing dissent.”

The repression took a new turn in June 2016 when the Ministry of Justice began legal moves to dissolve Bahrain’s main opposition party, the Al-Wefaq Islamic Society, and stripped the country’s highest Shia religious authority, Mr. Isa Qassim, of his citizenship. The crackdown has continued to intensify since then, with the last major opposition party, Wa’ad, dissolved at the end of May 2017.

A few days before, on 23 May, security forces began an operation in the city of Duraz, the centre of the peaceful demonstrations, using excessive and lethal force to disperse peaceful protestors who had gathered in a sit-in, resulting in the deaths of five persons and injuring dozens of others.

“For use of force by security forces in managing peaceful protests to be legal, it must be necessary and proportionate, and aim at protecting the right to life. The reported use of tear gas, shotguns equipped with birdshot and lethal antipersonnel weapons by security forces to disperse a peaceful demonstration was neither necessary or proportionate and therefore excessive, qualifying the five deaths as unlawful killings. It is tragic that while security forces are meant to protect life, their actions have shown otherwise,” the experts said.

“The authorities have resorted to drastic measures to curb dissenting opinions such as torture, arbitrary detention, unfounded convictions, the stripping of citizenship, the use of travel bans, intimidation, including death threats, and reprisals for cooperating with international organizations, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,” they noted.

“We are particularly worried about these measures, coupled with the campaign of harassment aimed at human rights defenders, who are increasingly being charged with offences for which the death penalty may be imposed,” the experts said, highlighting in this regard the use of repressive legislation, in particular the Law of Associations, and anti-terrorism laws.

The experts are also particularly concerned at the resumption of executions after a de facto moratorium in place since 2010, the broader powers given to National Security Agency officers and a constitutional amendment allowing for military courts to try civilians.

They added: “Trying to quell protests and criticism by resorting to repression and violence is not only a violation of international human rights law, it also undoubtedly leads to an escalation of tension. We fear that this increasingly hostile environment is undermining any prospect of alleviation of social and political unrest in Bahrain.”

“We call on the Government of Bahrain to immediately cease its campaign of persecution against human rights defenders, journalists and anyone else with divergent opinions, and take all measures to guarantee a safe and enabling environment for all Bahrainis, independent of their political opinions, beliefs or confession,” the experts concluded.

The human rights experts have sought clarifications from the Bahraini authorities on the issues in question.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC