Since 2000, the Bahraini Authorities have not wasted a single opportunity to talk about reform. But with the eruption of the mass protests in 2011, the Authorities’ talks were shattered by its crackdown on the people. The Authority then called in an inquiry commission, in the same year, to look into the human rights crisis in the aftermath of the crackdown. Again, the nation saw no more than promises to reform, however, it is hard to believe that the Authority can achieve, in one year, what it failed to achieve over the 10 years since 2000.
This brought Amnesty International to issue a statement in 2012, stating, “The authorities are trying to portray the country as being on the road to reform”. The organization added, “Their reforms have only scratched the surface. The government’s huge financial investment in international experts to help them reform will go to waste unless it shows real political will”. Early 2013 Human Rights Watch said Bahrain “showed it prioritizes repression over reform”. In 2014, the organization slammed Bahrain’s talks of reform as a “joke” stating, “Official talk of reform is a joke at a time when peaceful critics of the government are labeled terrorists and kept in jail”.
Clearly, the Authority’s talks of reform are failing to do the traditional advantage of hiding the deteriorating human rights situation, as was in the past decades. Now, these official talks have shifted to a different direction to make it seem like the country is heading to a terror swamp. This is done by distorting the image of the peaceful opposition to make it look like terror groups, through the official and quasi-official media. This media began talking about the arrest of armed plots and gangs with cases that were doubtful to the public opinion. This provided space for the Authority in Bahrain to justify its restrictions on the fundamental rights of the opposition and its supporters, let alone the punishment and suppression. More and more violations were added to the Authorities’ record of human rights that was appallingly tarnished with the eruption of the democratic movement on 14th February 2011. Yet, the Authority’s talks of reform remained hanged on gun-muzzles in 2014.
This report exposes preliminary statistics of human rights violations perpetrated by the Bahraini Authorities during 2014, based on information the Liberties and Human Rights Department (LHRD) in Al Wefaq was able to reach.