SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)-Sheikh Maytham Alsalman, director of religious freedoms in the Bahrain Observatory for Human Rights, described the human rights situation in Bahrain to be direful and dangerous. Alsalman, who is attending the 27th session of the UN Human Rights Council, said the international community and UN mechanisms to protect human rights are urged to take practical steps to halt systematic violations such as ban of peaceful assembly, detention of prisoners of conscience, torture and other cruel and degrading treatment against citizens.
“Looking at the huge number of complaints delivered to the High Commissioner about forced disappearance, torture, revocation of citizenship and attacks on mosques, Bahrain should be considered among countries most involved in human rights violations”.
Following the brutal crackdown on prodemocracy protests in 2011, the Bahraini Government bulldozed 38 Shiite mosques, including ancient ones that go back to hundreds of years. Alsalman said the Government was “targeting the cultural and religious heritage of this social community”. Some rights groups described it as a “cultural genocide crime” that brought Bahrain in the face of wide condemnation from the international community and human rights organizations, however, those involved in the vengeful crime have not been prosecuted yet.
Alsalman outlined that the Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) condemned the Government of Bahrain for targeting a “religious and cultural heritage” of the Shia community. The report concluded “that under the circumstances,
in particular the timing, the manner in which demolitions were conducted and the fact that these were primarily Shia religious structures, the demolitions would be perceived as a collective punishment”.
“Bahrain adopts a systematic policy of impunity and it is providing legal protection and security to those confirmed to be involved in the demolishing of the mosques in the BICI report”, Alsalman added.