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A seminar for the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights discloses facts about the grave consequences of discrimination and naturalization in relation to the absence of justice in Bahrain




Dissolving32 thousand votes for the opposition… Theeffect of naturalized citizens on elections is 30-40%

Aseminar for the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights discloses facts about the grave consequencesof discrimination and naturalization in relation to the absence of justice inBahrain

BahrainForum for Human Rights organized a human rights seminar in Beirut entitled“Absence of justice in Bahrain…the electoral system and discrimination amongcitizens” during which the Lebanese former MP, Hassan Yacoub, the social andmedia activist, Samar Al-Hajj and  theForum’s media director, Baqer Darwish delivered an address. The seminar wasattended by Lebanese, Iraqi and Egyptian human rights activists, unionists andpolitical and media figures.

TheForum’s media director, Baqer Darwish, stated that political naturalization haschanged from being a project to a political fact that led to threating civilpeace and destabilizing social stability. The authority has successfullychanged 17% of the demographic composition of the population, stressing thatthe government has dissolved about 32 thousand votes for the opposition in thepro-regime districts so they won’t be able to benefit from them whether they boycottedthe election or participated in it, he added. Darwish also said that the effectof political naturalization on the elections is about 30-40%, thus, partly forgingthe people’s will. “In 2040, according to the Constitution, the nationalidentity will eventually be destroyed. Therefore, Bahrainis, indigenous Sunnisand Shiites, will become a minority,” added Baqer, considering this action tobe a “Genocide of indigenous peoples”.

Forhis part, the former MP and leader in the Change and Reform bloc, HassanYacoub, stressed that “the latest change in the electoral district distributionaims at something worse than before”. Yacoub also said that the absence of equalityin representing voters is forging democracy adding that, as long as the largestblocs like Al Wefaq and other opposing parties are boycotting the elections,looking forward for fair elections is nothing but an illusion. Yacoub describedthe electoral process as a scandal and fraud. He also considered thatattainting a solution through elections is farfetched.

Similarly,the social and media activist, Samar Al-Hajj stated that the Bahraini authoritypretends to be democratic and tries to make the public believe that it wants alegislative council that represents the people. She also stressed that upcomingparliament will fail. Commenting about the sectarian electoral re-districting,Samar Al Hajj added, “We have always suffered in Lebanon from election laws. Weare the most ones aware of how the authority resorts to sectarianism as aweapon. We have realized the purity of this people, since the beginning of thepeaceful “Orphan Spring”, for they don’t want to turn its movement to a violentone.”

“Wedon’t need to justify the opposition’s boycott of the comical elections; we areonly presenting statistics to the ruling family, concerning sectariandiscrimination in Bahrain, where Shiites are 15% in the executive authority,12% in the judiciary authority, 10% in major official associations andcompanies and only 1% in the royal guard, royal court and army. Whereas, theappointment of ministers, agents, director generals, judges and counselors by royaldecrees and orders, and ministerial decisions between 2011 and 2013 was14.9%,”added Samar Al Hajj.

Yacoub:absence of equality in representing voters is forging democracy  

Theformer MP and member of the Change and Reform bloc, Hassan Yacoub, said, “Thelatest change in electoral district distribution aims at something worse thanbefore”. Yacoub also said that the absence of equality in representing votersis forging democracy adding that, as long as the largest blocs like Al Wefaqand other opposing parties are boycotting the elections, looking forward forfair elections is nothing but an illusion. Yacoub described the electoralprocess as a scandal and fraud. He also considered that attainting a solutionthrough elections is farfetched.

Concerningthe stance of the Bahraini government’s allies, Yacoub wondered, “How do allthese governments speak of democracy while supporting such a regime, theBahraini regime that violates human rights?” Indeed, these governments won’tsupport the Bahraini regime for a long time because it’s scandalous, he added.

Duringthe seminar, Yacoub praised the people of Bahrain saying, “This great nationhas demonstrated the ultimate form of victorious peacefulness in order toregain rights.”

Yacoubclarified that although the Arab Spring has been misrepresented in most of itsmodels, the word “Spring” meaning “Purity”, could only be applied to theBahraini people for no one was able to deviate them. He also greeted oppositionleaders for their efforts in preserving the peaceful pace of the movement.

Al-Hajj:The authorities use sectarianism as a weapon to crush their movement andsectarian discrimination is rooted in the government’s structure.

Thesocial and media activist, Samar Al-Hajj stated that the Bahraini authority pretendsto be democratic and tries to make the public believe that it wants alegislative council that represents the people. She also stressed that upcomingparliament will fail. Commenting about the sectarian electoral re-districting,Samar Al-Hajj added, “We have always suffered in Lebanon from election laws. Weare the most ones aware of how the authority resorts to sectarianism as aweapon. We have realized the purity of this people, since the beginning of thepeaceful “Orphan Spring”, for they don’t want to turn its movement to a violentone.”

“Wedon’t need to justify the opposition’s boycott of the comical elections; we areonly presenting statistics to the ruling family, concerning sectariandiscrimination in Bahrain, where Shiites are 15% in the executive authority,12% in the judiciary authority, 10% in major official associations andcompanies and only 1% in the royal guard, royal court and army. Whereas, theappointment of ministers, agents, director generals, judges and counselors by royaldecrees and orders, and ministerial decisions between 2011 and 2013 was14.9%,”added Samar Al-Hajj.

Al-Hajjadded that, “when the ongoing authority failed to deviate the revolution fromaccomplishing its goals, it chose to use the sectarianism as a weapon”. Shealso highlighted that this weapon will fail. Al-Hajj ended her speech with aloud statement, stressing “I am the daughter of the Sheikh of noble Sunnis inLebanon; I call on all Sunnis in Bahrain to help their Shiite brothers in orderto save Bahrain.”

Dissolving32 thousand votes for the opposition…The effect of naturalized citizens onelections is 30-40%

TheForum’s media director, Baqer Darwish, stated that political naturalization haschanged from being a project to a political fact that led to threating civilpeace and destabilizing social stability. The authority has successfullychanged 17% of the demographic composition of the population, stressing thatthe government has dissolved about 32 thousand votes for the opposition in thepro-regime districts so they won’t be able to benefit from them whether theyboycotted the election or participated in it, he added. Darwish also said thatthe effect of political naturalization on the elections is about 30-40%, thus,partly forging the people’s will. “In 2040, according to the Constitution, thenational identity will eventually be destroyed. Therefore, Bahrainis,indigenous Sunnis and Shiites, will become a minority,” added Baqer,considering this action to be a “Genocide of indigenous peoples”.

Duringthree months: 328 arbitrary arrests, 104 torture cases and crackdown on 722protests

Darwishunderlined that the government intended to increase the violations during thepast three months to pressure the opposition to participate in the elections. Thisresulted in: the authority’s filing of lawsuits against Al Wefaq, Waed and Al Wahdawi,dissolving Olama Islamic Council, besides 328 arbitrary arrests among which are5 women and 30 male children and 104 torture and abuse cases. Furthermore,different Bahraini areas witnessed 1644 protests where 722 of them wereoppressed by the use of tear gas and firearms. This led to 88 injuries due tothe use of shotguns and 36 injuries due to torture. The Bahraini judiciary alsosentenced 320 charged over political issues to about 3500 years in prison, inaddition to stripping 18 Bahraini citizens of their nationalities.

Theauthority has successfully changed 17% of the demographic composition of thepopulation

Darwishpointed out that by a study of the numbers given out by the government, weconcluded that 95,372 thousand foreigners were naturalized, which comprises17.3% of the population. Thus, the authority has succeeded during the past 10years, after the period of the national action charter and the start of the newparliamentary experience, in changing 17% of the population’s demographiccomposition. Darwish added that if this process continues, Bahrainis; Sunnisand Shiites will become a minority after 10 years.

Healso stated, “We rely on official statistical studies, noting that the BahrainCentral Informatics Organization does not reveal true numbers, not to mentionthat we are talking about a rapid increasing rate of naturalization, evenfaster than what Ibrahim Sharif (Waed’s former secretary-general and a formerpolitical detainee) expected in 2010 when his statements caused an uproar amongthe government and public opinion. For he said: According to governmentalstatistics, we have about 9-10 thousand naturalized citizens which means theyreached 60 thousand between 2001 and 2007 during 6 years, if we assume that9-10 thousands are being naturalized annually since 2001, then by 2030naturalized citizens will increase by 3%, naturally, due to marriage andreproduction. Thus, if political naturalization continues in this pace, half amillion individuals will be naturalized by 2030.

Baqeradded, “It is noteworthy here that most of the naturalizing processes aim atrecruiting these people in the security sector. According to 2013 report of TheInstitute for Economics and Peace, Bahrain has recorded an unusual andexceptional rate in the number of police recruits with respect to population,which is certainly the highest rate in the world, which reached 6 times morethan the global average.”

Healso pointed out that “this indicates the absence of justice, when thegovernment provides official jobs in the security and militaries bodies tothese naturalized and when they, along with their children, are grantedfacilitations such as the right to residence, voting, health and other rightsat the expenses of the citizens. Meanwhile, it deprives Shiite citizens ofworking in military institutions under the pretext that they are not loyal.”

TheNational Identity in 2040: the indigenous Sunnis and Shiites will become aminority

Darwishexplained: “Noting that the political naturalization does not rely onrecruiting competent individuals yet groups of various races and ethnicities ina sectarian way, we are facing “Genocide of indigenous peoples”. This actionwill affect the national identity according to the constitution and eventuallylead to its destruction. Thus, instead of being a state of citizenship, Bahrainwill be a sectarian one besides competing with other experiences ofdiscrimination to practically present itself as a state famous for itssectarian discrimination. If it continues these following three violations: theongoing political discrimination, rise of sectarian persecution and turninginto a police state, Bahrain in 2040 will; therefore, resemble, with differentreasons and conditions, the South African example of infamous racialdiscrimination. However, in this case, it is sectarian discrimination.”

Healso said: “One of main issues related to the Bahraini crisis is represented bythe opposition’s demand of a fair electoral system including fair electoraldistricting through which equality among citizens is achieved and by theuniversal principle of elections “a vote for each citizen” and by its proposedsolution by making Bahrain be one electoral district or five districts withequality among citizens. However, with this new electoral re-districting thatdissolved one entire governorate and the scenario of the future of demographicchange: What fair electoral districts are we going to talk about in Bahrainduring the settlement? Based on the new electoral redistricting, the effect ofnaturalization on election results will be between 30% and 40%.

Baqerexplained that, “Bahrain has the fourth largest population in Asia, whichreached 915 individuals per 1Km in 2001. However, with the process ofnaturalization, the number has definitely skyrocketed. It is noteworthy thatthe natural increase in population growth takes 30 years to be doubled indeveloping countries and 50 years in developed countries. Bahrain violates thisinternational standard; thus this will lead to dramatic consequences on theeconomic and social levels. How will Bahrain achieve sustainable developmentamid this non-stop and abnormal rise in the population? An interesting reportissued by the International Monetary Fund that tackled the Bahrainigovernment’s failure in managing the economic file disclosed the politicalnaturalizing project besides security policies that led to the failure of theeconomic vision for 2030.

Politicalnaturalization threatens regional security. It is the destructive card of theconsecutive elections that prevents a resolution to the crisis

Darwishindicated that, “we are facing the dramatic scenario of politicalnaturalization and its consequences on the level of regional security in thegulf states, since some of the naturalized citizens believe in a very dangerousthought and some have joined Takfiri groups in Syria and Iraq making use of theBahraini nationality and passport. Accordingly, this group will take part inforging the will of the people in the upcoming elections let alone that it willbe represented in parliamentary councils which have lost legitimacy.”

Healso pointed out that “the government wants to tamper with election results bypolitical naturalization because it wants to avoid the embarrassment of lowturnout during elections. The government used 95,000 naturalized citizens byregistering them in a number of opposition electoral districts by housingprojects, and dissolved 32 thousand votes for the opposition in pro-regimeelectoral districts so they won’t be able to benefit from them whether theyboycotted the election or participated in it. Creating cantons for naturalizedcitizens who now have their own regions, providing housing, education andservices for them are among the mechanisms of naturalization. For instance,Safira which is located south of Riffa and affiliated with the regime hasbecome a special region where naturalized citizens from Pakistan, Baluchistanand Yemen live. Meanwhile, Syrians from Deir Ezzor reside in the towns ofHamad, Busaiteen and East Riffa.”

Darwishalso clarified that “the authorities also take advantage of those of “dualnationality” in order to tamper with the elections; which will eventuallyaffect justice in Bahrain, concerning the electoral system and discriminationamong citizens.”

 

 

Added on: 2014-11-21 03:36:16
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