Human rights group appeal against government decision
Sandeep Singh Grewal
Six human rights group have come together and urged the government to revoke its decision to sack government employees who participate in rallies or strikes.
Activist Nabeel Rajab told the Bahrain Tribune “ The authorities are sending wrong signals by imposing such a decision. It restricts a person’s right to freedom of expression.”
The resentment follows a decision by the Civil Service Bureau (CSB) to initiative legal proceedings against any government employee involved in illegal gatherings, sabotage or arson attacks.
This is the parent body, responsible for managing human resources and pay roll of all government staff. Circulars were sent to all ministries stating the directives.
The Ministry of Education issued a circular last week prior to the commencement of the academic year warning of sacking employees and the expulsion of students who participate in rallies or strikes.
The human rights group condemned the Ministry’s decision in a statement issued yesterday calling it- “ a violation of human rights.”
The societies said citizens had protested on several issues in the past such as- political naturalisation, corruption among others which was not wrong. “ The circular issued by the education ministry is not acceptable. The authorities should revoke the decision,” the statement said.
A spokesperson from the Haqq Movement of Liberties and Democracy said the CSB decision was a veiled martial law.
Rajab said the decision would create more problems rather than solving them. “ Our concern is that people would resort to harmful means to express themselves if they are not given a chance to be vocal. Those who want to protest peacefully should have no restriction or rules.”
The decision by the education ministry also follows after several arson attacks which took place in public schools, and are still being investigated by the Ministry of Interior.
The six human rights group are- the Bahrain Human Rights Society, defunct Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Haqq movement of liberties and Democracy, Public Freedom and Support for Democracy, Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights and the Women Petition Committee.
According to the rally law gatherings are banned near hospitals, places of worship, schools, airports, malls and security areas.
The law also stipulates that the organisers of unauthorised rallies will be fined BD100 or jailed for six months and the participants will be fined BD50 and jailed for one month.