Saturday, April 13, 2024

Opposition group says Bahrain turned into graveyard of human rights

Bahrain's main opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, has voiced serious concern over the alarming situation of human rights in the Persian Gulf country. It stated that the ruling Al Khalifah regime would exploit the forthcoming Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly to burnish its international image.

Al-Wefaq, in an open letter, addressed to participants in the 146th IPU Assembly which will be held from March 11 to 15 in the Bahraini capital city of Manama, stated that Bahrain has turned into a graveyard of human rights as thousands of people are now being kept behind bars in various prisons and detention centers across the country.

“Representatives of Bahraini people are now imprisoned, and a quarter of the country’s citizens are now barred from running in the parliamentary elections. Bahrain, as the host country of the upcoming IPU Assembly, does not have a genuine legislature that represents the will of the nation as real representatives are either in prison or exile,” the letter read.

It went on to point to the cases of prominent Bahraini Shia clerics and opposition leaders Sheikh Ali Salman and Sheikh Hassan Issa, noting that they have been incarcerated over their demands for legal and political reforms in Bahrain.

“The current National Assembly is not a representative of the will of the Bahraini nation. The latest parliamentary elections [held on November 12 last year] lacked popular legitimacy, and the current legislature is thus a complete sham at the service of the Al Khalifah regime to conceal its repression, violations of human rights and criminal acts,” the letter said.

“Bahrain lacks peaceful coexistence due to government policies rooted in repression, absence of political pluralism, lack of social solidarity and erosion of civil and political principles as a result of an authoritarian regime. All these contradict with the overall theme of the 146th IPU Assembly, which is promoting peaceful coexistence and inclusive societies, and fighting intolerance,” Wefaq added.

The opposition group also urged participants in the next week’s event to call a face-to-face meeting with jailed Bahraini lawmakers, and to demand Bahraini officials to undertake legislative reforms.

“Bahrain is suffering from acute economic, political, security, constitutional and legislative crises. Bahrain’s abuses and crimes should not be overlooked in light of the Al Khalifa regime’s attempts to polish its image by means of hosting the 146th IPU Assembly,” Wefaq highlighted.

Anti-monarchy demonstrations began on February 14, 2011, and have been held on a regular basis ever since the popular uprising started.

Demonstrators demand that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power, and a democratic, just system representing all Bahrainis be established.

The ruthless Manama regime, however, has responded to demands for social equality with an iron fist, clamping down on voices of dissent.

In March 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of opposition civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to the imposition of an undeclared martial law.

The monarch, King Hamad, ratified the constitutional amendment in April 2017, bringing about further suppression of political dissent on the tiny Persian Gulf Island under the strong influence of the Saudi regime.

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