The BIDHR confirmed that theBahraini authorities have increased restrictions on the Bahraini citizens’freedom of religion, and in particular, deprived the Shiite majority of theirright to worship and to practice their religious beliefs.
In a speech he delivered at thesixth international conference of the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights in theLebanese capital Beirut, the head of the international relations committee atthe GIDHR, Ghassan Khamis, pointed out to the joint report of the UN SpecialRapporteurs that documented models of the continuous systematic discriminationagainst the Shiite majority in Bahrain.
“UN experts found that patterns ofcultural, economic, educational and social discrimination against ShiiteMuslims in Bahrain continue, and the report stated that there is continuous useexcessive force, violations against Shiite clerics, and discrimination in theeducation system, the media, and the public-sector employment, as well as othersocial state policies like housing and social welfare,” he said.
Khamis also pointed out the failureof the Bahraini authorities to fulfill their commitments to build all themosques that were destroyed during the emergency period, including the400-year-old Al-Barbaghy mosque, noting that the Shiite mosques were turnedinto museums or commercial buildings, and some of them were moved to remoteplaces in order to undermine their cultural and religious significance.
Khamis explained that the sectarianpersecution included neglecting and distorting the Shiites’ history at theBahrain National Museum and in the public curriculum; in addition, the officialmedia is exclusively establishing Sunni traditions and directly ignoring theShiite majority of the population. He also pointed to the persecution of Shiitecitizens in senior government positions, representing only 16%, in addition, ShiiteBahraini citizens are systematically marginalized from the country\\\'s securityservices, including the Bahrain Defense Force, the National Security Agency andpolice forces.
The GIDHR made severalrecommendations:
To the government of Bahrain:
1. Stop the deprivation of theShiite majority of the right to freedom of religion, in worship and practice,and end discrimination in employment and public services against Shiites.
2 - Stop eradicating the history andheritage of the Shiite population and stop insulting their sect in the media.
3 - Review the curricula and makethe necessary reforms to ensure that they are free from any discourse of hatredand exclusion or religious discrimination.
4 - Integration of Shiites in thenational security forces so that they are represented in a proportional manner.
5. Ensure that welfare benefits aregranted to low-income Shiite families without discrimination.
6. Amend the provisions of the LaborLaw, Civil Service Law and Legislative Decree No. 41, which unjustifiably incitefor economic impact against Shiites.
And to the Special Rapporteur:
1. Encourage the Special Rapporteuron freedom of religion and the Special Rapporteur in the field of culturalrights to demand reaching Bahrain through the management of the fact-findingmission.
2. Ask the government of Bahrain toissue a standing invitation to all special procedures wishing to visit thecountry.
To the States members of the HumanRights Council:
1. Government officials condemn thedeprivation of the right to freedom of religion in Bahrain and establishimmediate measures to prevent further deterioration.
2. Law enforcement agencies publiclycommit to investigate all cases of discrimination and religious persecution inBahrain.
3. Call upon the government ofBahrain to adopt a policy that ends religious discrimination in all its forms,by all available means and without delay.
4. Interfere to protect Bahrainicitizens in Bahrain and to allow leaders, religious scholars and religiousinstitutions in Bahrain to exercise their rights to freedom of religiousexpression.