Salam Issues Report on "Lost Democracy": Massive Violations by Bahraini Regime of civil and Political Rights

2023-09-21 - 12:36 م

Bahrain Mirror: Salam for Democracy and Human Rights issued a report entitled "The Lost Democracy: A Human Rights Vision on the Confiscation of Political Rights in Bahrain", which confirmed that "the government of Bahrain is violating its obligations under international conventions and its constitution through a series of arbitrary measures that constitute the main obstacle to democratic reform in the country."

The report tackled the "democratic practices in the Bahraini political and civil space, especially through the violations that occurred in Bahrain's legislative elections in 2022 in terms of manipulating constituency boundaries, isolating the opposition through political isolation laws, and preventing independent monitoring of this entitlement."

"Due to the arbitrary measures imposed by the government of Bahrain in the run-up to the legislative elections, many citizens called for boycotting these elections, due to the lack of legitimacy for them. However, citizens were surprised by the removal of their names from the voters lists, especially those who expressed support for the boycott, as a measure by the government to attempt to increase the participation rate," it added. The organization monitored "the removal of about 94,000 citizens from the voter lists in Bahrain, i.e. 27% of the electoral bloc, and preventing a large segment of citizens from running for the legislative elections."

The organization monitored "more than 59,000 military personnel and members of the security services present to participate in the elections, and the elections took place amid Bahrain's refusal to receive the international community institutions specialized in monitoring the elections or even independent Bahraini civil society institutions."

The report recalled the dissolution of opposition political societies, most notably Al-Wefaq in 2016 and the National Democratic Action, Wa'ad in 2017, noting that "through these practices, organized political work in Bahrain, which represents a fundamental pillar of democracy, has been eliminated."

The organization documented that "since 2011, 15 former MPs, most of them from Al-Wefaq, have been subjected to a disturbing series of human rights violations, some of whom have been arrested, tortured, had their citizenships revoked, and imprisoned."

The report documented "arbitrary practices carried out by the Bahraini government, represented by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, which constituted a means of repression in the face of the Bahraini civil space, whether through dissolving NGOs, preventing citizens from running for the boards of directors of these societies or imposing strict monitoring on them through arbitrary laws," recalling that "since 2011, the government of Bahrain has imposed serious restrictions to suppress freedom of opinion, expression, press and peaceful assembly."

The report pointed out that "the number of violations of freedom of opinion and expression against civil society activists in Bahrain from 2011 until December 2022 reached 1,811 violations, according to the Bahrain Press Association."

Salam for Democracy and Human Rights called on the government of Bahrain to "abide by Articles 22 and 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 31 of the Bahraini Constitution, and repeal of political isolation legislation, the most important of which is Law No. 25 of 2018 amending Article III of Decree No.14 of 2002 on exercising political laws."

The organization called on the government to "repeal Law No. 36 of 2018, amend Article 43 on law of Associations, Social and Cultural Clubs, Special Committees Working in the Field of Youth and Sports, and Private Foundations, promulgated by Legislative Decree No. 21 of 1989."

Salam called for "releasing political detainees and opposition leaders," and stressed "the need to move forward on the issue of security and peace for all Bahraini citizens, ease the severe restrictions on freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly, hold free and fair elections under the supervision of independent bodies, and open channels of constructive dialogue that end up with a transition towards democracy, political pluralism and peaceful transfer of power."

Arabic Version