An open letter to the King of Bahrain to avoid the worst case scenario
BCHR reports a widespread and fast going call on Facebook and other internet mediums for wide protests on Monday 14 February 2011 as a “Day of Rage” in Bahrain
BCHR calls on the King of Bahrain to ease tensions by: releasing detainees, dissolving the National Security Apparatus and engaging in serious dialogue on disputed issues
BCHR calls to avoid the use of force against peaceful protests and to guarantee basic rights such as freedom of assembly and freedom of opinion including the free use of social networking
12th February, 2011
The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights has sent today an open letter to the King of Bahrain to avoid the worst case scenario, by releasing more than 450 detainees including human rights defenders, religious figures and more than 110 children, dissolving the Security apparatus and prosecute its official responsible of violations and to start serious dialogue with civil society and opposition groups on disputed issues such as political participation, corruption by high officials, housing and low income problems and discrimination and naturalization on sectarian basis.
The BCHR has also called on the King to take measures to insure avoiding the use of force by security forces against peaceful protests which might take place in the very near future and to guarantee basic rights such as freedom of assembly and freedom of opinion including the free use of social networking. The letter from the BCHR to the King of Bahrain comes in the wake of a widespread call on Facebook and other internet mediums for wide protests on Monday 14th February 2011 as a “Day of Rage” in Bahrain. Up to the time of issuing this release, one of the many pages engaged in this campaign has attracted more than 11.000 fans. (The page name is “ثورة 14 فبراير في البحرين” which means “the revolution of 14th February in Bahrain”).
The president of the BCHR, Nabeel Rajab, has warned from the capital Manama about the mounting tension which has been building up for the last few years but has been sharply escalated as a result of inspiration by the recent events in Tunisia and Egypt.
“The release of all the detainees in Bahrain will not solve the main highly disputed issues between the ruling family and the majority of the people. However, it could help to ease the tension and pave the way for a serious, instant and constrictive dialogue on issues such as; political participation, corruption by high officials, housing and low income problems and discrimination and naturalization on sectarian basis” said Mr. Rajab. “The dissolving of the security apparatus and the prosecution of its officials will not only distance the King from the crimes committed by this apparatus especially since 2005, such as systemic torture and the use of excessive force against peaceful protests, but will avoid the fatal mistake committed by similar apparatuses in Tunisia and Egypt which lead to the loss of lives and hundreds of casualties and eventually resulted in the fall of the regimes who created these “double edged swords”, added Mr. Rajab.
Mr. Rajab clarified further that the BCHR warned during 2005-2007 against the amounting use of excessive force by the security apparatus against peaceful protests by disadvantaged groups such as the unemployed, which eventually lead to more violent trends by angry youths especially in predominantly Shia’a populated areas and villages. Then, since December 2007, the BCHR warned against using these violent atrocities as pretexts to wage waves of crackdown on human rights defenders and political activists accusing them, without profound evidence, of “instigating hatred or violence” against the regime. The last and most atrocious crackdown started in mid-August 2010 resulting in the high restriction of basic freedoms, the surrounding and harassing of Shia’a villages around the clock, arbitrary detention and systematic torture of hundreds of people who are still in prisons being subjected to unfair trials and harsh punishments. All these violations which have been widely documented and condemned by various national and international human rights organizations, widened and escalated the outrage in Bahrain.
“Now that different groups of youths have taken the initiative to call for a wide protest starting on Monday 14 February, no one is completely sure what is going to happen on February 14th, if it is going to be “The Day of Rage” in Bahrain or if it is going to be just the start of series of events that we hope will end in enhancing rights and freedoms and an escalation into chaos or bloodshed” concluded Mr. Rajab.