Geneva 2017 Sees no Activists from Bahrain: Does HRC Need another Evidence?

2017-05-03 - 12:03 am

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): It's been 5 years since the United Nations issued 176 recommendations to the Government of Bahrain to reform the deteriorating human rights status. Bahrain has been a country full of torture, killing, labor dismissals and sectarian persecution.

Bahrain transformed into a police state since February 14, 2011. Its prisons became crowded with political detainees, while the army occupied streets and hospitals. Even the Shiites majority mosques were not spared demolition!

In May 2012, the Bahraini government failed the human rights exam at the UN building. It was a blatant failure. Up to 176 critical recommendations, bearing severe condemnations, were presented to Bahrain by the Human Rights Council member states during the Universal Periodic Review on Bahrain's record.

Bahrain's record only included the crimes and serious violations. For over a year, the authorities confined their work on ground on nothing but oppression and elimination of anti-regime voices, after the mass historic protests that shook the regime's legitimacy and stability.

These recommendations were added to those of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) to form the most dramatic image though 5 years: Bahrain is under international pressure, hold them responsible for commitments they claimed!

Perhaps people haven't ever felt optimistic about the international community, but what happened in Geneva back then was received as a victory waiting to make history. Everything was crystal clear and the Bahraini government could not get around; it had to be immediately controlled. However, nothing happened!

Instead of putting an end to its measures, the government went further. The third UPR cycle convenes at the time when a whole village is under total siege, the opposition leader is behind bars, Al-Wefaq society, after being the main partner in reaching a political solution, is dissolved, and prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab is imprisoned for no reason.

The authorities did not vainly refuse all Geneva recommendations related to abolishing the death penalty. The time had come to use it; 3 dissident youths were executed for the first time in 20 years and the assassination processes and extrajudicial killings made their way to the sea. Dozens of youths were gunned down throughout the 5 years.

In June 2016, in a new round of violations, attacks reached the top ranked religious scholar  and spiritual leader of Shiites in Bahrain, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim. The king revoked Sheikh Qassim's citizenship and set him to trial for retaliatory reasons. Since then, Bahrain has been standing on a hot tin roof, witnessing an open-ended siege and sit-in staged by thousands of Bahrainis to protect Sheikh Qassim.

In 2012, Bahrain Mirror wrote that no one believes the Bahraini government anymore. The echoing voices of activists, torture and violation victims filled the halls in Geneva at that time, and hopes were high that something will change, after the international community acknowledged the reality of occurrences.

The authorities did not seek any solution throughout these 5 years. It only sought the decisive blow, no matter how much of a pipe dream it was to justify it. Yesterday, the UN reviewed Bahrain's human rights status after 5 years full of executions, killings, political arrests and citizenship revocations against anyone accused of being anti-regime. What can the Human Rights Council add to those 176 recommendations?

Bahrain may be proof that no one can trust the international community today. No one can even trust its ability to make any peaceful change to the political conflicts, or trust its credibility on this level, amidst the ridiculous political twists on the international arena.

No one from Bahrain attended Geneva's session yesterday. All the voices present 5 years ago, whom the UN demanded the Bahraini government to protect, are nowhere to be heard. The Bahraini authorities boldly prevented all of them from traveling to Geneva. Does the Human Rights Council need another evidence?

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