Right to Return to Bahrain: Why Allocating Hotels Not Enough?

2020-02-28 - 2:12 am

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Hundreds of Bahrainis are stuck in Iran and want to return to Bahrain, while others are being stacked at the Bahrain International Airport in inhuman conditions within the framework of measures supposed to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Hundreds of citizens are held now in the city of Mashhad and other Iranian cities. Their names were on scheduled flights before Iran announced coronavirus cases. They are demanding the government to take action to transfer them back to Bahrain after Gulf Air suspended their flights to Iran.

These people are only demanding to return home. They do not find that the solution provided by the Epidemic Control Committee by offering them a hotel is acceptable, as they are not currently in the streets of Iran waiting to be accommodated in hotels.

According to information, all visitors are staying in hotels and their health is good so far, but there are elderly and children among them, so they are asking to guarantee their return to Bahrain before the situation becomes more complicated.

Many Western, Asian and Arab countries were quick to send planes to evacuate their nationals from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the cradle of the Corona epidemic for their own safety, and they did what it takes to receive them on their territory and put them under observation.

Some of those countries had strained relations with China, such as Canada, which opened direct channels of communication with the Chinese authorities to ensure the evacuation of its nationals from China.

In Britain, newspapers and radio stations were following the evacuation talks on a daily basis, and no one suggested opening a hotel in Wuhan to receive British nationals. No one said that the British citizens themselves should bear the consequences of travelling to China.

The infected have been transferred to their countries and put in isolation centers under surveillance. These countries did not stack people as is the case at Bahrain Airport.

Elderly people and children are sleeping on the ground. They have been waiting for long hours in one of the airport's small halls after receiving arrivals from Iran via Dubai and Sharjah.

In fact, photos and videos taken at Bahrain Airport reveal that the government has no clear plan to control the virus. There is no indication that the airport is ready to monitor and control it.

There are no rooms or halls equipped at the Airport or King Fahd Causeway to examine or isolate arrivals, as screening and reservation scans on arrivals in Bahrain are randomly carried out. The airport authorities are not following the globally adopted medical prevention procedures.

All the government has done is unleash political and sectarian bigots to exercise the same roles: incite against a group of people to deprive them of their most basic rights, such as returning to their country, as well as blaming and criminalizing them only for their religious practices.

These measures cannot be classified as preventive against the spread of infection. They are rather an act of combating people's beliefs and punishing them for travelling to a country with which the Government does not have any political relations.

Improving the procedures for receiving arrivals at Bahrain Airport and ensuring the transfer of those stranded in Iran or any other country is the responsibility of the authorities. It is the authorities' responsibility to silence those bigoted voices if they do not conform to its policy.

Commenting on the fact that Bahraini parliamentarians and journalists have called for not receiving Bahrainis returning from Iran, opposition figure Ibrahim Sharif wrote: "The sectarian virus is more dangerous than Corona... In the House of Representatives, in the press and in the media, there are people promoting allegations that Iran deliberately infected Bahraini and Gulf visitors with the Coronavirus to export the virus to us. Corona kills 2% of the infected; however, the sectarian virus promoted by these sick people kills an entire nation. These people are the ones in need of isolation."

Arabic Version