On Monday 30th July Channel 4 News broadcast a report about the human cost of the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen. It said that the Saudis and Emiratis have caused the largest humanitarian crisis in modern times with more than 10 million people including women and children suffering malnutrition resulting from famine and disease. The report said that the continuous bombing of the Yemeni cities has ruined one of the oldest civilisations in the region and is threatening more than one million people residing in port city of Hodaida.
Last week the United Nations human rights office called on Saudi Arabia to release all peaceful activists, including women held for campaigning against a ban on driving even as it was being lifted. At least 15 government critics were arrested since mid-May, some of whose whereabouts are unknown amid a serious lack of transparency in the processing of their cases, the rights office said. They included prominent women’s rights advocate Hatoon al-Fassi, arrested in June as she was planning to take journalists in her car to celebrate the much-hyped end of the world’s last ban on female drivers. UN human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said “We urge the Government of Saudi Arabia to unconditionally release all human rights defenders and activists who have been detained for their peaceful human rights work, including their decades-long campaigns for the lifting of the driving ban for women”. Instead of heeding this call, the Saudi dictators arrested human rights activist, Mrs Nassima Al Sadah from the Eastern Province.
Another young native Bahraini has developed cancer in Alkhalifa torture chambers. Sayed Kadhem Sayed Abbas has been released this week after he had been diagnosed with cancerous disease that affected his sight. Several others have developed cancer in recent weeks as a result of lack of medical care, lack of medicines and unhealthy overcrowded prisons. Most of the senior figures of the people’s leaders have serious diseases including cancer for which they receive no treatment. This is another form of punishment by the regime.
Under the heading “Culture of impunity among MPs over hospitality from corrupt regimes,” Transparency International has published a report about MPs who serve corrupt regimes including that of Bahrain, Azerbaijan and Sri Lank. The report said many MPs and peers had been given all-expenses-paid trips while providing political access and lobbying. Transparency International UK’s report also found that two MPs had provided advisory services to the king of Bahrain over the period the government enforced a brutal crackdown of Arab spring protesters in 2001. Yet some officials have had the audacity to challenge a respectable human rights organization for exposing their role in propping up Alkhalifa torture regime. They have hired an expensive law firm to act on their behalf. The sky-high costs are expected to be paid by Alkhalifa dictator who has usurped people’s wealth to spend on foreign agents while the natives live below the poverty line. The UN’s recent figures show that Bahrain has higher per capita income than Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but the people have been usurped off their wealth.
On 27th July Human Rights Watch issued an important statement calling on the Alkhalifa dictators to restore citizenship to hundreds of nationals whose citizenship they had revoked through executive orders or court decisions since 2012, rendering most of them stateless. Since 2012, the regime has revoked the citizenship of at least 738 nationals – 232 in 2018 alone – in a process that lacks adequate legal safeguards. This includes many human rights defenders, political activists, journalists, and religious scholars. The vast majority of Bahraini citizens stripped of citizenship are left effectively stateless, and some have been deported. “Bahrain seems intent on earning the dubious honour of leading the region in stripping citizenship,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “While authorities claim that these acts are linked to national security, they are in fact punishing many people merely for peacefully voicing dissent.” All known citizenship revocations since January 1, 2018, have been handed down by civil or military courts. Human Rights Watch has documented widespread fair trial violations in both court systems, in particular since the authorities’ crackdown on anti-government protests after 2011. The violations include a lack of access to lawyers, especially during interrogation, and allegedly coerced confessions.
On 25th July United Nations human rights experts called on Bahrain to end the repression of activists, restrictions on freedom of expression and discrimination against women. The U.N. panel, composed of 18 independent experts, upholds compliance with a landmark treaty on civil and political rights. It examined the record of five countries including Bahrain, which is home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet. The experts voiced concern at an increased use of violence by police during peaceful demonstrations in recent years, “including reports indicating six fatal incidents during demonstrations and ten other extrajudicial killings in 2017”.
Bahrain Freedom Movement