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Leaked Document Shows Massive New Tear Gas Shipment Planned for Bahrain
Number of Tear Gas Canisters in Shipment is Larger Than Bahrain's Total Population
Manama Bahrain's Ministry of Interior is planning to import 1.6 million tear gas canisters and 90,000 tear gas grenades, according to a leaked document , published today by the research and advocacy group Bahrain Watch. The document - apparently a tender issued by the Ministry of Interior's Purchasing Directorate - shows that Bahrain's security forces are stockpiling massive amounts of tear gas, despite serious concerns of international NGOs and the United Nations Human Rights Council . These groups have called Bahrain's use of tear gas "unnecessary and indiscriminate" , and " lethal ". This planned new shipment will supply Bahrain with more tear gas canisters than the entire population of the country.
The document , signed by "Assistant Undersecretary Abdulla Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa", calls for all proposals to be submitted "not later than 16th July 2013". Ministry of Interior tenders are typically not available on the Government's Tender Board website. This is the first time that an apparent tender for tear gas has been made public. The tender calls for arms companies to supply Bahrain with the following items:
- 800,000 CS Tear Gas Long Range Shells 37/40mm
- 400,000 CS Tear Gas Short Range Shells 37/40mm
- 400,000 CS Tear Gas Shell, Multiple Submunition (Five Way) 37/40mm
- 45,000 CS Hand Grenades (One way)
- 45,000 Tear Gas Hand Grenades (Five way)
- 145,000 Sound & Flash Grenades
The tender also requires the bidders to commit to both "carrying out the necessary training of Ministry of Interior personnel at your factory upon request" and inviting "a delegation of Ministry of Interior to demonstrate production and testing process upon request" if deemed necessary.
Bahrain Watch understands that no shipment related to this tender has yet been made, however, such a shipment could begin at any time, given the date of the tender.
Bahrain has historically used US-origin tear gas, but the State Department apparently blocked further U.S. exports over concerns about its "excessive use" in May 2012. Bahrain Watch believes that one of the firms that seem to be supplying Bahrain currently may be planning the shipment:
- Rheinmetall Denel Munitions - a German / South African company. Tear gas made by this company has been seen in Bahrain since 2011. The canister that killed 14-year-old Ali Jawad al-Sheikh on 31st August 2011 is visually similar to those manufactured by Rheinmetall Denel.
- DaeKwang Chemical Company Ltd. and Korea CNO Tech Ltd. - two South Korean firms. Unmarked tear gas canisters , as well as tear gas grenades , which are visually identical to those originally manufactured by DaeKwang and exported by CNO Tech have been seen in Bahrain since late 2011. The canister that killed 15-year-old Sayed Hashim Sayed Saeed on 31st December 2011 looks visually identical to those manufactured by DaeKwang.
In an attempt to stop any further shipments of tear gas, Bahrain Watch is launching a campaign entitled "Stop The Shipment" ( Http://stoptheshipment.org/ ), and @ StopTheShipment on Twitter. The campaign invites participants to send complaint messages via e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook to Bahrain's tear gas suppliers, as well as export licensing authorities in these countries. With enough public and media pressure the campaign could result in export licenses being revoked, and shipments being blocked similar to what has happened previously with US-made tear gas products.
"We have never seen a document like this before," said Bahrain Watch member Bill Marczak. "Now, we have a unique opportunity to come together and save lives, by blocking upcoming deliveries of tear gas to Bahrain. Let's stop these shipments before it is too late. "
Since 2011, tear gas in Bahrain:
- has reportedly caused 39 deaths , according to Physicians for Human Rights, both from direct canister hits, and exposure to the gas. Victims include men, women, children, elderly, and the disabled
- may be responsible for an increase in Miscarriages , sickle cell disease deaths , blindness, and serious respiratory illnesses due to its use in enclosed residential areas
- has been used as a form of collective punishment of entire villages through the indiscriminate and unnecessary targeting of the general public in residential areas
- has been fired Recklessly into homes , mosques , places of worship , vehicles and even football pitches
For more documentation about arms and ammunition used by Bahraini security forces, see Bahrain Watch's Arms Watch project.
Bahrain Watch is a monitoring and advocacy group that seeks to promote effective, accountable, and transparent governance in Bahrain through research and evidence-based advocacy. About Bahrain Watch: Https://bahrainwatch.org/about.asp