» News

With 4000 Behind Bars and Banning Opposition, Elections Rendered without Integrity (HR Report)

2018-11-24 - 7:21 p

Bahrain Mirror: Three human rights organisations, Bahrain Forum for Human Rights, Salam for Democracy and Human Rights (Salam DHR), and Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR), released on Friday (November 23, 2018) a new report entitled: "Bahrain- Elections without Integrity".

Chairman of the Bahrain Interfaith Center Sheikh Maytham Al-Salman participated in the press conference held in Lancaster Hotel in Beirut.

Al-Salman said that "the elections to be held on Saturday, November 24, 2018, in undemocratic and oppressive environment can't meet the aspirations of Bahrainis in reaching the desired political and social stability."

He added "the authority's insistence on proceeding in Parliamentary elections without political and human rights reform, amid its refusal to adopt principle of dialogue to reach national consensus, severely damages the social, economic and political environment."

Al-Salman pointed out that "the international stances issued in the recent weeks and months by many parties in the European Union, European Parliament, some European countries, United Sates and United Kingdom stress that Bahrain needs dialogue and national reconciliation instead of oppression and legitimating human rights violations. Around 40 MPs in the European Parliament expressed that they wished the upcoming elections would be a chance to reduce tension and allow open dialogue, rather than enacting increasingly repressive measures."

"Elections can't succeed amid severe human rights deterioration, stifling of political environment and blockage of civil liberties," Sheikh Salman confirmed.

He explained that at a time the number of arbitrarily arrested citizens increased since 2011 (more than 14,000), including children and women, the security authorities continue to carry out arbitrary arrests, as was the case with former MP Ali Al-Asheeri, who was arrested over charge of confusing elections after posting a tweet on Twitter.

"No country in the world can succeed in elections except by creating climates of political stability," he added, "but with more than 4,000 detainees over political crisis, hundreds of those stripped of nationalities, rampant human rights abuses, and the denial of the opposition's participation in the parliamentary elections, make the whole election a play that cannot convince the international community and observers with allegations of democracy."

Sheikh Maytham stated that some parties resorted this week to intimidating boycotters, which contradicts with legal and constitutional rules, since the choice of boycotting or participating in elections is a right, thus the process is called free elections. However, if the citizen's freedom is confiscated and he is forced to participate in the elections, then it loses its integrity and becomes without integrity.

He explained that "one of the most important problems facing the electoral process is the existence of an unjust electoral system; the current electoral system does not include fair constituencies that achieve equality between citizens and apply the universal principle of elections (one vote for each citizen), as seen through reviewing constituencies."

"It is worth mentioning the importance of monitoring the electoral process to shed light on irregularities and legal breaches," Al-Salman said. He pointed out that the authority banned international bodies or media to cover the course of the process and monitor the elections, why the Government of Bahrain is afraid of the monitoring of international bodies and media?"

At the end, the report presented the following recommendations: "form an independent committee with the participation of civil society institutions to manage the elections; distribute constituencies fairly and in conformity with the international parameters, and achieve balance and equality among citizens in terms of the electoral vote, according to the principle, "one vote for each citizen," or make Bahrain one constituency; achieve the principle of separation of powers so that the legislative authority can play its role away from the hegemony of the executive authority; obtain the highest levels of international supervision over the elections; abolish the project of political isolation, enable all citizens to participate freely and effectively in the elections, cancel the decisions of dissolving political associations and give them real space to practice freedom of political action, and release political leaders;  release all prisoners of conscience, stop violations, put an end to the policy of impunity, and hold those responsible for violations accountable and immediately implement the recommendations of the committee of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Independent Commission of Inquiry and the Universal Periodic Review of 2012 and 2017."

Arabic Version