Halt crimes against humanity, protect civilians
UN, EU, US & UK must withdraw support from Bahraini regime
Speaking at a pro-democracy rally outside the Bahraini Embassy in London on 14 May 2011, organised by Justice for Bahrain, Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, said:
“We are here in solidarity with the people of Bahrain who are struggling for democratic reforms, human rights and social justice. The state of emergency must be lifted immediately, all political prisoners freed and Saudi Arabian and UAE troops withdrawn. The people of Bahrain should be free to determine their own future by the exercise of their democratic rights, without external interference.
“The international community has failed in its duty to protect the civilian population from arrest, detention without trial, torture and murder by the regime of King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa.
“If the duty to protect civilians applies in Libya, why not in Bahrain?
“The UN, EU, US, UK and Arab League should work together to: halt all arms sales to Bahrain, cease military cooperation, suspend the operation of the US naval base, institute a travel ban and assets-freeze on top regime officials, prohibit the export to Bahrain of luxury items for the rich ruling elite, refer Bahrain's leaders to the International Criminal Court and the UN Human Rights Council on charges of torture and crimes against humanity, and report Saudi Arabia and the UAE to the UN Security Council for their interference in the internal affairs of Bahrain and the role of their troops in the violent suppression of the democracy protests,” said Mr Tatchell.
Speaking after the protest, Mr Tatchell added:
“The protesters in Bahrain are demanding democracy and human rights, especially for the Shia Muslim majority who comprises more than 60% of the population. Shias are excluded from political power by the pro-Sunni monarchy and government. They suffer sustained discrimination, especially in housing and jobs.
“Human rights activists in Bahrain report that at least 30 civilians have been killed, including four people who have died in custody after beatings and torture. Around 400 democracy protesters have been injured. Doctors and nurses who treated the wounded and spoke publicly about their injuries have been arrested, beaten and tortured. Forty-seven of them are being put on trial.
“Already four protesters have been sentenced to death, following military trials held behind closed doors.
“Close to 1,000 Bahrainis have been arrested since the start of protests in February, although about 300 of these have since been released. Twenty-one opposition activists and human rights defenders are being prosecuted on trumped up charges. An estimated 1,000 professionals have been sacked from their jobs, accused of pro-democracy and pro-Shia sympathies. The country’s only opposition newspaper has been closed down. The editors of Al-Wasat are being put on trial on bogus charges of misreporting the protests and the government’s crackdown. Twenty-seven Shia mosques, meeting houses and shrines have been destroyed or damaged.
“A total of 1,500 Saudi and UAE soldiers entered Bahrain in March and are helping with this systematic repression,” Mr Tatchell added.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has condemned the brutal tactics of the Bahraini regime as “shocking and illegal conduct.”
See also Justice for Bahrain: www.justiceforbahrain.com
Even before the current wave of repression, Bahrain had a poor human rights record; having been criticised by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Amnesty International report: http://tiny.cc/0lhbp