Sunday, April 02, 2006

Bahrain: Targeting activists doesn’t Annihilate Violations of Rights

29th March 2006
To Mr Habib Toumi,
Bureau Chief, Gulf News-UAE

Re: Your article Activist accuses West of fanning sectarianism
GN 26.03.06

Bahrain: Targeting activists doesn’t Annihilate Violations of Rights

Dear Mr Toumi,

Greetings and salute for GN and its staff.

I would like first to express my concern over the abuse of freedom of expression and seemingly irresponsible writings whose results affect negatively the life of others. Freedom of expression is a cherishable value and needs to be respected, but observed. It is bound by and limited by the rights and values of others.

I am stunned to learn that my name and as well as that of the activist, Mr Nabeel Rajab, have been brought in the above article, on a statement by Mr Abdulnabi Al-Ekri, in a manner the least one could say is that it is a provocation language and breach of respect to human rights values and their defenders. This is a State-lead campaign against activists, which started when they succeeded in reflecting to the rest of the world, the real situation of human and political rights in Bahrain. The statements, by Mr Al-Ekri in the article, implemented an insinuation language to an act punishable by the local Authority. The Statements were full of unsubstantiated accusations, requiring my reply to it.

I therefore would request that you respect my right to reply to the statements quoted by Mr Al-Ekri against myself and other activists and kindly take the necessary measures to post in the same place, the above article published. I, however, reserve all the rights for legal proceedings, should the statements in the above article, would in anyway hinder or contribute in harming or affecting our wellbeing, professional and civic status.

It is very strange from a “prominent rights campaigner”, like Al-ekri, to deny other activists to highlight the different aspects of human rights violations in Bahrain and world wide. All forms of discrimination, specially the sectarian, have been deepened in Bahrain and have been highlighted in figures [1], and analysis. I must refer to the study made by the renown International Crisis Group on May 6th, 2005 about the Discrimination in Bahrain “Bahrain, the Sectarian Challenge” [2] , as well as to the concluding observations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination [3]: about Bahrain CERD/C/BHR/CO/7 on the 14/04/2005, where the experts of the committee of expressed concerns over the discrimination in Bahrain.

As for the other systematic human rights violations in Bahrain, one can list down reports by famous and established International Human Rights organizations. Not exhaustively but naming few, one would refer to Human Rights Watch [4], Amnesty International [5], Freedom House [6], International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)[7], Reporters without Border[8], International Freedom of Expression Exchange [9], Committee on the Protection of Journalists [10], International Press Institute [11], and many others. All these respected organizations are independently funded, managed and have their own ways and approaches to obtain status about the human rights in Bahrain, as well as in other countries. It is an insult and ambiguous, from Mr Al-Ekri, to indirectly dispute the integrity of these respectful organizations and accuse them of being guided by others.

Mr Al-Ekri very well knows the role of UN numerous mandates to protect and maintain human rights values world wide, including Bahrain. All international charters and agreements are meant to protect oppressed and violated people through the different mechanisms managed by UN councils and human rights sub committees. As long as there are violations in a country like Bahrain, these organizations will be persistent and continue their role of monitoring, reporting, and excising all means to lift such violations on people. Human rights are international and world wide values, and their violations are of concern irrespective of the geographic location. Respecting and maintaining the people rights to live decently and in dignity are never considered domestic issues, but part of the Universal Charter guidelines. UN role to insure adherence to these values is never interference in local issues and independent of the violating country, not as erroneously stated in the article. Mr Al-Ekri is fully aware of this fact and is clearly mentioned in the UN charter ratified by all its members.

Activists role is to compliment that of the UN and other human rights organizations and should not, in anyway, play a provocation posture against each other. Mr Al-Ekri’s statement is clear breach to the UN mandate to protect activists and human rights defenders from ill-treatment and aggression by local authorities. I advise Mr Al-Ekri to be reconsider his stance against other activists and show respect to those having different views. I also invite him to join all the sincere activists to combat sectarian discrimination against the indigenous people of Bahrain and ensure protection and observance to human rights values in Bahrain.

Thank you,

Dr Abduljalil Alsingace
Academician and Activist

Cc: Editor in chief,

1-see “Discrimination: the Unwriten Law”, September 2003, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights.