The United Nations has singled out 16 nations for cracking down on critics, including Bahrain, saying most of those countries’ governments are going unpunished for their acts of reprisal. Yesterday U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told a special session of the Human Rights Council that the 16 nations detailed in a new report “have been far from sufficient” in preventing members of their own governments from resorting to intimidation and attacks on various activists.
The report to the Geneva-based council for its session this month details alleged cases of killings, beatings, torture, arrests, threats, harassment and smear campaigns against human rights defenders, some arising out of backlash from the Arab Spring last year. The report covers mid-June 2011 to mid-July 2012 and cites cases in Algeria, Bahrain, Belarus, China, Colombia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malawi, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.
One activist, Mohammed Al-Maskati, told the council last Thursday that as president of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights he had “received more than a dozen anonymous phone calls threatening my life and the safety of my family” during the previous three days because he tweeted that he would be attending the council session.
Mr Sadiq Rabi’ who was hit by regime’s forces on 5th September and seriously injured has been transferred to a private hospital to continue his treatment. His condition is serious but stable. He had received direct hits on his back, shoulder and face as he marched with others to protest the death of a feotus, named Zainab, as a result of inhalation of chemical gases by her pregnant mother, fired by the regime’s Special Forces at a demonstration in Sitra earlier. None of the criminals who had fired the shots was arrested. When human rights activist, Yousuf Al Mahafdah, visisted him three days ago he was not allowed into the room and was threatened with arrest and torture if he did not leave the hospital which is under military rule.
The Bahraini protesters, Sayed Hadi Alawi, 24, is still in inetensive care after being hit with live ammunition by security forces earlier this month. One of his kidneys was removed and his other organs were seriously damaged. He is under military surveillance 24 hours by the hospital’s military authorities. His would-be murders are still at large and the dictator, who had given permission to shoot at protesters is considered the main culprit like Mubarak and Ben Ali.
The Alkhalifa have summoned an eight years old girl to appear at their prosecution office for questioning about her role in plotting to overthrow the regime. The child, Abrar Al Omran, 8, faces an uphill struggle to prove her innocence and that as a child she could not have had part in the alleged plot. The US administration has emboldened the Alkhalifa into adopting such criminal steps.
Last Monday human rights activists were summoned by the American Embassy in Manama and told to accept “dialogue” (Alkhalifa way; we speak, you listen) and refrain from protests. If they fail to follow these orders, given in the presence of a State Department’s official visiting Bahrain, they will face the same fate as that of Mr Rajab. This is the first time the Obama administration has indicated that it had given green light for the arrest and torture of the most senior human rights activist in Bahrain.
On 12th September The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), said it had sent a trial observation mission to Bahrain to observe the opening of the appeal in cases against Mr. Nabeel Rajab. It remains very concerned at the continuation of the policy of silencing and criminalizing legitimate human rights activities. While welcoming the cooperation of the Bahraini authorities during the mission, the Observatory recalls that the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly, including by calling for reforms and denouncing human rights violations, is not a crime. Those rights constitute legitimate freedoms necessary in a democratic state. For this reason, it firmly condemns the continuing campaign to criminalize dissent and human rights defenders. The continuing repression of free speech in Bahrain violates Bahra in international legal obligations and urges the Bahraini authorities to comply with the rights to peaceful assembly and expression, and to immediately release those arbitrarily detained for exercising their legitimate freedoms.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
14 September 2012