Human Rights Thunderous Silence
By Sally from Saar follow on Twitter @SallyfromSaar
With thousands of human rights organizations scattered across the globe, it is surprising that there are still governments that continue to abuse, torture and murder their citizens. From the beginning of time, humans have the capability and disturbingly the desire to dominate, thus supporting Darwin’s Theory of “survival of the fittest”.
Two of the most well-known rights organisations are Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. These organisations recruit members locally around the world to support their work, which is in theory “dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world. They investigate and expose human rights violations, hold abusers accountable, and challenge governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law”.
Interestingly enough in the West, activists are rarely taken seriously and are referred to as “tree huggers’ or “hippies” – referring to a group of people considered to have skewed ideology and essentially being out of touch with reality. If these human rights advocates actually carried out their duties and tried to solve our ever-growing problem with megalomaniac leaders, we would see some good. Unfortunately, these organizations have become politicized and resort to supporting their financiers rather than the victims. Over the years these organizations have become highly accomplished in the art of distorting facts to suit their political agenda and objective of targeting governments or individuals that are considered enemies of their financiers.
The Kingdom of Bahrain has taken leaps and strides in moving forward with a system that protects and serves citizens and residents equally. There are even laws in place that protect women and migrant workers.
Bahrain has much to offer. Just a few years ago, we were hailed as the financial hub of the Middle East. New businesses were setting up, more business was on the horizon and there seemed to be an endless stream of investment pouring into the country. Magnificent projects were being rolled out and banks and international companies were setting up their headquarters in Bahrain. Despite the world recession, we were moving up. No one could have predicted that we were actually getting closer to the starting line of a roller coaster ride.
We all knew that there was to be a rally on February 14th 2011 at the GCC Roundabout but we carried on with our day-to-day lives. What majority of us thought of as a minor disturbance by a group of people, slowly gripped the country and gnawed away at our lives and security. Not many people in our community were aware of the undercurrents of extremism, radicalization and secular beliefs spreading like a virus across the former GCC Roundabout. The instigators invited international media, human rights groups and journalists to sympathise and spread distorted information.
As we waited, the opposition’s vile conspiracy was slowly unveiled, and it became evident that the Kingdom of Bahrain was under attack. This was no revolution; this was an attempted coup that the opposition lost. By refusing to accept defeat the opposition continues to hack away at our lives and livelihood through violence and criminal activity.
What has become excruciatingly painful is to read misinformation published by opposition groups who have associated themselves with these international human rights groups many of whom who have links with UK based extremists namely George Galloway and Lord Avesbury.
Through their loud hailers in the West, the opposition is guilty of calling for the death of an entire family, supporting attacks on police, migrant workers and citizens and residents of Bahrain just for having a contradictory opinion. We have witnessed attacks on migrant workers, we have seen workers being beaten and tortured causing many to flee the country. We have seen policemen being mowed down by 4x4 SUVs and others dying of fatal burns and injuries caused by molotovs and home made weapons including bombs. But there is thunderous silence from the International Human Rights Groups – they do not condemn these attacks.
Our leadership has put a process in place and a structure, but it seems that the community is complacent. Information online has not been updated and all you will find on Wikipedia is; “In 2008, during the Universal Periodic Review of its human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council, the Government announced plans to create a national human rights institution for Bahrain. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Foreign Ministry jointly organised a workshop in Manama, bringing in NHRI experts from Jordan, Morocco and Northern Ireland to meet a wide range of Bahraini civil society. The NHRI was duly established by the King on 11 November 2009 through Royal Order No. 46/2009.
On 25 April 2010 Royal Order No. 16/2010 appointed 17 men and five women as the first members of the NHRI, including prominent human rights activists Salman al-Sayyid ‘Ali Kamal al-Din, the former deputy secretary-general of the independent Bahrain Human Rights Society, as president.
While the appointments were initially welcomed by Amnesty International, other NGOs including the Bahrain Center for Human Rights questioned the credibility and independence of the new institution. The Center alleged that several of the 22 nominees held government appointments or were linked to bodies accused by the Society of operating as government fronts or GONGOs, such as the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society, the Jurists Society and the Association of Public Freedoms and Human Rights. On 6 September 2010 Salman Kamal al-Din resigned as president, in protest at the institution's failure to criticise the arrests of pro-democracy activists”.
We are now on the brink of 2013 and the only organization known to the outside world is the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), which was officially dissolved in 2004, but defiantly, continues to operate and misrepresent Bahrain. The President is Nabeel Rajab (currently in jail). Maryam Al Khawaja is Head of Foreign Relations but left the country in February 2011 and is currently travelling between Europe and the USA promoting the dubious message of the BCHR. This being an NGO, it relies on donations and sponsorship but to date it is unclear where the funding is coming from. Maryam travels across the globe falsely representing Bahrain yet never discloses how her flight tickets, hotels, transport, telephone, Internet and satlink phones are paid. How does she live?
The BCHR shows no income, so who are these generous donors? Why don’t these generous people support organizations, which operate with donations carrying out the paramount and admirable task of supporting abuse? One can only imagine.
In March 2011, opposition followers raided workers homes, beat, tortured and murdered many expatriate workers. Hundreds of workers fled their homes out of fear, leaving it up to the Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indian Embassy to find accommodation. The Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) assisted in aiding the petrified and homeless workers. The Embassies attempted to contact the BCHR but their repeated requests were ignored and Nabeel Rajab later denied that these heinous acts had even taken place.
Our Government was quick to meet with the Ambassadors and reassure the safety of workers and investigation into the attacks – no other government in the world has done that for any community.
During the same period two policemen were deliberately run over and killed by opposition protestors using 4x4 SUVs. In one case the lifeless body of one of the men was kicked and rocks thrown at his head. There were witnesses to this monstrous crime but BCHR refused to denounce this cold-blooded murder and in fact Maryam suggested that it was a doll: to date the BCHR has not condemned the murder of these men despite the independent BICI report confirming the murder of policemen as well as attacks on workers by shia'a protestors in March 2011 (Bassioni interview with Al Arabiya).
Even after a British citizen was attacked in a village and lost two fingers during a sword attack, the Western Governments did not make any statements of condemnation against attacks on civilians. This further highlights the Western agenda and their influence on human rights groups.
International Human Rights groups recently launched a campaign demanding the release of fourteen "activists", while Western Governments watch and nod in silence. Let us be very clear here, Al Khawaja x 2, Sharif, Mushaima, Mugdad x2, Abdul Wahab, Singese, AlNoori, AlMukhodar, AlMahroos, Jawad, Mohammed Ali and AlSumaikh have been sentenced based on proof of terrorist activity and their part in the coup d’état with support and financing by an external extremist power.
UN, Human Rights, Embassy and Amnesty representatives witnessed the trials. As in any country, terrorists deserve to spend the rest of their lives behind bars for the good of all.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch take great pride in criticising our Government and leadership but seem to be ignoring their true role of rights for human beings. The majority in Bahrain now considers these groups as puppets to a political power outside of the Kingdom, and one that is loyal to one sect only and therefore sectarian in its policy.
That brings us to the question: What is our official Human Rights body in Bahrain doing? Why does it not immediately refute false claims made by Amnesty and HRW against our country and leadership? Our leadership has set benchmarks and continues to work towards reform and a more secure future. The barriers that we face are from international organizations whose primary objective should be to defend human rights. Yet, all of them have failed not just the police, the workers and victims, but our respected leaders and our country’s reputation in the international arena.
Sally from Saar.