By: Kayhan Int’l Staff Writer
Amnesty International has warned that Bahrain is on the verge of a human rights catastrophe amid a pattern of increased violence against demonstrators, executions, and detentions.
The rights group gave the warning as nationwide protests are still underway to mark the sixth anniversary of the 2011 popular uprising against the ruling Al Khalifah regime. Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or been arrested since then. As part of the crackdown on dissent, Bahraini authorities have dissolved several opposition groups as well, including the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society and the Islamic Enlightenment Institution, which were founded by Sheikh Qassim.
According to Amnesty International, "Bahrain is at a tipping point. The first two months of 2017 alone saw an alarming upsurge in arbitrary and abusive force by security forces as well as the first executions since the uprising in 2011. If the Al Khalifah regime does not put further control on its security forces, does not respect protesters rights, and does not halt its executions, it will be dealing with a full blown human rights crisis.”
Few points are worth mentioning in this respect:
-The long suffering people of Bahrain are used to hearing nice words from human rights organizations, such as "the Bahraini government hasn’t taken meaningful steps towards reform and upholding its human rights obligations.” What they are yet to witness is firm action on the part of international community to support their legitimate demands for democracy and to stop this full blown human rights crisis.
-The continuing climate of impunity amid a very concerning renewed pattern of violations, including arbitrary detention and torture, is due to the fact that the Al Khalifah regime is not alone. It is but an extension of Saudi Arabia’s will in the region. It has the full blown support of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and the United Kingdom, which happen to have naval bases on the tiny Persian Gulf island. They are the ones that go to great lengths to help the unelected regime to silence dissent.
-In March 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown. Scores of people lost their lives and hundreds of others were arrested and jailed. If that time the world community did nothing, it is hard to see how rights groups like Amnesty International would do something different now.
- Bahrain’s uprising didn’t get quite as much attention as some of the others in the Arab world. But it was one of the first, beginning on Feb. 14. For the sake of political correctness and geopolitical interests, events in Bahrain still don’t make the mainstream media headlines in the West. This has allowed the regime to crackdown on the opposition as it sees fit. The West is part and parcel of the ongoing tyranny, has contributed to it, and labored to defeat the opposition.
-Despite protests, the U.S. and UK have established naval bases in Bahrain, transforming it into a main base for foreign military presence and aggression. It’s a reward to the silence they provide on human rights abuses, and for their continued support of the tyrannical regime.
-This is not a Sunni-Shia struggle, as the unelected regime would like us to believe. Still, that hasn’t stopped the regime to use it as temporary distraction in order to authorize the destruction and raid of Shia mosques, schools, residences and businesses. The regime has resorted to dilute the Shia population by both importing foreign nationals into the country and stripping Shia Bahrainis of their nationality.
The point is Bahrain became the one Arab country whose uprising was definitively put down. One reason is that the United States and its regional vassals wanted it that way. The uprising was suppressed in a harsh crackdown. Thousands of people were killed, wounded, rounded up, detained, and tortured. Two of those detained were elected members of parliament. Others were doctors who treated protesters, journalists who wrote about them, and lawyers who defended them. Several people also died while in custody.
Bahrain largely silenced the uprising, but not entirely: Sporadic protests still continue and human-rights groups like Amnesty condemn the government actions. Under international law, therefore, the people of Bahrain have every right to press ahead with their peaceful drive to regain their democratic rights and to keep on holding demonstrations to realize their demands.