Ban on Rallies and Protests
All protests and rallies have been banned. Any activity is not allowed to be organized until security is restored and the hoped stability is achieved. This is the core meaning of the recent decision issued Monday 29th October.
What’s behind this decision?
Is it to reform? Is it to fix the situation? Is it to bring the two sides closer to each other? Is it to ease tensions? Unfortunately, the measure is far from all this.
We are not judging intentions, but the decision seems to be taken in order to escalate the security crackdown, and to set fire to more tension and anger, which the country can bear no more. The country needs tensions eased, and a serious reforms.
The decision says;
No protest must take place until stability and security are maintained, however, what is noticed here is that stability and confidence cannot be achieved through anything but reform. And when reform is achieved, there will no longer be need for protests and they are going to end spontaneously. So how are protests only to be allowed after reform takes place?
Regarding the root of this decision, where does it stand from the National Charter, constitution, law, BICI and Geneva recommendations, international covenant on civil and political rights and the international standards of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly?
Is a ministerial decision to forcefully undermine all these, and be brought before them? The decision signifies a clear drawback in political and civil rights and freedom of expression, and it blocks its last aperture and tramples on its last breath.
What is left of peaceful expression after the ban of all peaceful protests, it has totally evaporated.
Regarding what was published in Al-Wasat newspaper last Thursday, quoting Amnesty International, “Even in the event of sporadic or isolated violence once an assembly is underway, the authorities cannot simply declare a blanket prohibition on all protests”, the organization stressed that Bahrain must lift ban on all protests immediately.
This decision brought Alistair Burt, the British minister for the Middle East and North Africa to express his concerns and consider the decision “excessive”, and he stressed that “Peaceful protest is a democratic right. I hope the Bahraini government will rescind this measure as quickly as possible.”
According to Al-Wasat newspaper also, American state department spokesman, Mark Toner, said “Freedoms of assembly, association and expression are universal human rights,” and added, “We urge the government of Bahrain to uphold its international commitments”
“We urge the government of Bahrain to work with responsible protest leaders to find a way for peaceful and orderly demonstrations to take place. The decision to curb these rights is contrary to Bahrain’s professed commitment to reform and will not help advance national reconciliation nor build trust among all parties.”
This decision comes in a clear and unjustifiable violation to the National charter, the constitution , the law, human rights, its humanitarian issue, the government’s pledges, the issue of reform and trust-building, the interests of this homeland, BICI recommendations, UN Human rights Council and all international standards that are moving towards the will of peoples and wider rights to freedom of expression.
The right thing is no restrictions, peacefulness and a genuine and swift reform.