Bahrain Mirror: Salam for Democracy and Human Rights launched on Tuesday (February 9, 2021) a report entitled "Decade of Oppression: Authoritarianism in Bahrain 2011-2021".
The comprehensive report comprises more than 50 parts. It presents a brief historical background and a chronology of the 2011 uprising, reviews the results of the BICI report findings and shortcomings and explores how the Government claimed to have fulfilled the BICI recommendations, yet it avoided reform with regard to civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and failed to commit itself to transitional justice and to hold people who committed violations accountable.
Jawad Fairooz, head of Salam for Democracy and Human Rights, said in reviewing the report's findings and recommendations "Bahrain has the means to engage in comprehensive human rights reform. It should adopt a concept of reform within the framework of a work project and within a human rights methodology. This would be the first step to rooted and sustainable political reform in the kingdom."
The report condemns the irresponsible international support for the government, especially by the UK and US, despite the government's very weak and lenient condemnations for undermining international human rights standards and the principle of universality of human rights standards.
Jawad Fairooz urges the new administration of Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to open a new chapter in relations with Bahrain. If his call for unity at home will be translated abroad, it means taking concrete steps to promote democratic values and justice in Bahrain, and with it, social and political integration that can serve as a foundation for security and sustainable development. The status quo will only lead us to 2011 again.
The report condemns the events that happened in Bahrain throughout a decade, the government quiet dropping of cases against officials accused of violating the rights of Bahrainis and failing to hold them accountable. This lack of accountability reflects the government's inability or unwillingness to redress the damage and give justice to those whose loved ones were killed, or who were arbitrarily injured or detained by the government, while many of them are still unjustly imprisoned to this day. The report says that the government's illegal use of the death penalty, its practice of torture and arbitrary revocation of citizenship, are examples of the enormous wound that has not healed in the heart of society.
It concludes that the main practices used by the authorities to maintain their repressive methods include government assurances to international partners that it respects international human rights standards while, in fact, freedom of expression remains subject to scrutiny and restrictions as it was before 2011. Similarly, freedom of assembly and association is virtually non-existent, as the government has closed all independent media and political bodies which are deemed unsupportive or loyal to it, let alone the comprehensive scrutiny on social media, as well as the prohibition of members of opposition political societies from running for election for politically motivated reasons that run counter to international human rights standards, as well as publishing spyware to carry out systematic harassment and silence opponents and human rights defenders.
Dr. Andrew Mcintosh, researcher and quality control at Salam DHR; Ali Abdulemam, Bahraini human rights defender and witness to 2011 incidents; and Matar Ibrahim Matar, a former Bahraini MP and members in the dissolved Al-Wefaq society took part in the launching.
Human rights expert Julia Legner took part and spoke about the vast and permanent effects of 2011 unrests as well as issues of accountability. Dr. Staci Strobl, professor of Criminal Justice at University of Wisconsin-Platteville, evaluated 2011 incidents with regards to a decade of oppression and Masansa Ndinga-Kanga from CIVICUS, an advocacy and campaign officer and president of the Crisis Response Fund, talked about the global impact of the unrest in 2011 and whether a global experience can shape Bahrain's discourse.