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SOS Appeal from Bahrain

16th March 2011

The Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Bahrain , appeal for help in face of mass systematic murder against the unarmed people of Bahrain, demanding legitimate rights for democratic system which respects its rights

Bahrain has been witnessing mass attacks by the riot police , armed militia, and lately Bahraini Armed forces and Saudi-Gulf Forces, against the protesters and civilian people and areas in the Shia area in the capital Manama, Muhraq , Sitra , Hamad Town most of Northern and Middle Region along Budia Road. This was culminated with mass attack against Sitra island on Tue. 15 which left 3 killed and hundreds were wounded . The dawn of Wed. 16, witnessed sweeping attack against LULU circle ( Martyr Sq. ) , where in addition to riot police , Bahraini and Saudi armed forces participated using fire arms of all kinds , while 6 Apatchi copters roamed skies in intimidation.

In both days ambulances from central Salmannia hospital were preventd from taking causalities , and staffs were assaulted. In Sitra, the Local Medical Center was besieged and attacked by the militia. In Lulu Circle, close to Slamanya, ambulances were barred , Salmanya hospital was besieged and then broken through by riot police, in order to arrest the wounded. Electricity was cut off the Lulu Circle , all surrounding area and Salmanya hospital . Mobile service was cut off all northern region of Bahrain till 10am .

The attcks against Shia residential areas are continuing by riot police and armed militias.

The Bahraini government along with Saudi and Emirates governments are responsible for these massacres .The Saudi-Emirites forces are occupying forces .

We appeal to The Security Council, The UN , The Arab Leauge , the international community , to curb the attackers and to end this massacre. States with leverage to Bahrain government , shoul intervene directly.

Relief agencies such as ICRC , MSF , Arab and international red crescent and cross should intervene to break the siege of hospitals and assaults against medical staff.

The Bahraini Civil Society Organizations Bahrain 16th March. 2011

General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions Bahrain Society for Human Rights Bahrain Transparency Society Bahrain Sociologists Society Bahrain Society for Anti-normalization Dental Association Future Women Society Tajdeed cultural Society

HRW: Bahrain: Martial Law Does Not Trump Basic Rights

All Forces Obliged to Respect International Standards

March 16, 2011

(Manama) - Bahrain's declaration of martial law and deployment of armed forces from Saudi Arabia does not override its obligations to respect fundamental human rights under international law, Human Rights Watch said today.

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa decreed a three-month state of emergency on March 15, 2011, a day after military convoys from its Gulf Cooperation Council allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates entered Bahrain following that country's request for military assistance amidst continuing anti-government protests. Early on March 15, prior to the king's decree, riot police were involved in violence in several Shia villages, which left at least two people dead and hundreds injured, some seriously.

"King Hamad's decree does not give the authorities a blank check to commit abuses," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "The world is watching to see whether Bahrain will respect the basic rights of all its citizens."

According to the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA), the decision to declare martial law "was taken in light of the latest security escalations that affected national security and posed a serious threat" to the lives of Bahraini citizens. The BNA announcement said that the king had delegated implementation powers to the commander-in-chief of the Bahrain Defense Force, Marshal Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.

The Bahrain Defense Force later stated that the king's decree, apparently issued under article 36(b) of the Bahrain constitution, permits the government to control movement and transportation, conduct inspections, ban gatherings, and ban the operation of nongovernmental organizations, political societies, and trade unions. Under what the authorities called the state of "national safety," the government can also ban newspapers, make arrests, and engage in surveillance and monitoring of correspondence and telephone conversations. Officials said that the military judiciary director of the Bahrain Defense Force would announce specific restrictions that will apply to all citizens.

The king's decree follows more than three weeks of sustained and large anti-government demonstrations, almost all of which have been peaceful. The authorities initially responded to the protests with unlawful lethal force, killing seven protesters between February 14 and 18. After protesters reoccupied Manama's Pearl Roundabout, the center of anti-government protests, on February 19, the government withdrew its security forces. But on March 11 and 13, security forces used teargas, rubber bullets, and batons against peaceful protesters, injuring hundreds.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Bahrain ratified in 2006, permits some restrictions on certain rights during an officially proclaimed public emergency that "threatens the life of the nation." According to the Human Rights Committee, the international body of experts that monitors compliance with the treaty, any derogation of rights during a public emergency must be of an exceptional and temporary nature, and must be "limited to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation." Certain fundamental rights - such as the right to life, the right to be secure from torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment - must always be respected, even during a public emergency.

Under international law, states may not invoke a public emergency to permit arbitrary deprivations of liberty or unacknowledged detentions, nor may they deviate from fundamental principles of fair trial, including the presumption of innocence. People held as administrative detainees under a lawful state of emergency should enjoy, at a minimum, the right to be brought before a judicial authority promptly after arrest, be informed of the reasons for detention, and have immediate access to legal counsel and family. They also should be allowed to challenge the lawfulness of their detention in a fair hearing, and to seek a remedy for mistreatment and arbitrary detention.

Early on March 15, security forces were involved in clashes in several Shia villages outside Manama, where they fired teargas, rubber bullets, and shotgun pellets. The clashes led to the deaths of at least two individuals. Ahmad Farhan, described in media reports as a 24-year-old resident of Sitra, was killed by shotgun pellets that were fired at close enough range to leave a gaping hole in his head. Human Rights Watch confirmed the death of a second man, a Bangladeshi worker, who was also killed in Sitra. There are conflicting reports regarding the circumstances surrounding this man's death. The authorities should promptly and impartially investigate both killings, Human Rights Watch said.

"Bahrain cannot sidestep its international legal obligations by using foreign troops for law and order purposes," said Stork. "Saudi and other forces need to abide by the human rights treaties and standards applicable to Bahrain's forces."

Human Rights Watch said that Bahraini and Gulf Cooperation Council troops, as well as other security forces deployed in Bahrain, are bound by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, even though some states, such as Saudi Arabia, are not party to the treaty. They should also abide by the Untied Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms when engaging with protesters. The Basic Principles allow law enforcement agents to use only that degree of force necessary and proportionate to protect people and property and to use lethal force only when strictly unavoidable to protect life. The Basic Principles call on governments to ensure that arbitrary or abusive use of force or firearms by law enforcement officials is punished as a criminal offense.


Arab League and international community must end complicity - Gulf states launch a war against the people of Bahrain

16 March 2011

This morning, army and police troops in Bahrain, supported by the Saudi and Emirati forces, began a brutal, wide-scale crackdown on the legitimate aspirations of the Bahraini people for far-reaching political and constitutional reform. These aspirations have been expressed in widespread peaceful popular protests in the kingdom since last September; protests that remain undeterred despite the Bahraini authorities’ use of excessive force, the recruitment of foreign mercenaries, and the deployment of thugs. Today, the crackdown was expanded to five Shiite-majority villages, while helicopters are being used against demonstrators in Manama. The army has also imposed a blockade on major hospitals to prevent them from treating the wounded.

There are unconfirmed reports that indicate that Saudi forces are not only securing vital institutions in Bahrain, but are also taking part in the crackdown in Manama. The Bahraini authorities admitted Saudi and Emirati troops into Bahrain ostensibly to restore stability and security in the face of the turmoil rocking the country, and an official state of emergency has been declared.

CIHRS warns that this grave development is liable to threaten civic peace in Bahrain, where the population, most of whom are Shiites, faces systematic sectarian discrimination. It may also bring bloodshed accompanied by serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, of the type now being committed by the Libyan regime against its people.

CIHRS fears that the involvement of other Gulf countries in suppressing the legitimate protests may increase the chances for civil sectarian conflict in the Arab world, particularly in those countries where minorities experience institutional discrimination; and especially the Shiite community in Saudi Arabia and the Zaidi community in Yemen, which has already paid a high price during the war with Houthis in the Saada province. The conflict may also have grave repercussions in other countries that have and still are witnessing sectarian conflicts, such as Iraq and Lebanon.

In this context, the CIHRS calls on the Arab League to assume its responsibilities to mitigate these risks; take an effective, coherent position to support the rights of Arab peoples to freedom; and, demand that Gulf Cooperation Council countries withdraw their troops from Bahrain and refrain from any acts that would suppress Bahrainis’ right to peaceful protest.

Having watched with concern revolutions for democracy in Tunisia and Egypt, Saudi Arabia considers that the need to defend its autocratic regime began from those two countries. In Bahrain, however, it has gone on the offensive, believing that the triumph of the popular uprising next door would lend direct support to advocates for reform at home; particularly the legitimate demands of the oppressed Shiite minority.

CIHRS urges the international community, and particularly the US, whose Fifth Fleet is headquartered in Bahrain, to take appropriate decisions and stances to prevent Bahrain from becoming the site of regional score-settling, which may encourage Iran to intervene to support the Shiite majority in Bahrain and elsewhere, especially Saudi Arabia.

CIHRS stresses the need for the Bahraini authorities to end the ongoing militarization of the country; withdraw foreign mercenaries and thugs; cease using repressive security approaches in dealing with the popular uprising and other forms of peaceful political and social action, in respect of the will of the people and their aspirations; and, to prevent bloodshed and further violence and chaos. Bahrain must create a healthy climate for national dialogue aimed at responding to the legitimate demands of Bahrainis for a constitutional monarchy and far-reaching constitutional and legislative reforms that will ensure Bahrainis’ right to fairly elected, representational institutions. These institutions should be able to exercise their legislative and oversight functions to put an end to institutional sectarian discrimination, the politically motivated naturalization of Sunnis designed to change the country’s demography, and restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly and the right to civic, political, and trade-union association. Such a system should guarantee the independence of the judiciary and uphold the rule of law in all state institutions and agencies.


UN official deplores curtailment of trade union activity in Bahrain

16 March 2011 – The head of the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO), Juan Somavia, today expressed grave concern over the declaration of a state of emergency in Bahrain, saying the move is a serious setback to civil liberties, including the right to legitimate trade union activity.

Mr. Somavia, the ILO Director-General, said in a statement that the situation in Bahrain calls for a continuation of the dialogue that had started between the Government and “the key actors of society.” On Monday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted with concern that troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), under the auspices of the Gulf Cooperation Council, had reportedly entered Bahrain, where public protests against the king have led to growing violence.

King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa has reportedly declared a three-month state of emergency across Bahrain.

Mr. Somavia said he shared the concern expressed by the Secretary-General and other world leaders about the violence and the excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators, including many trade unionists.

He emphasized that the ILO’s long-standing activities with the member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council have underscored the central role of social dialogue for decent work.

“Today, forward-looking national dialogue is needed more than ever in Bahrain. It is clear that the resort to security measures together with external intervention risks further complications in the already protracted crisis,” added Mr. Somavia.

The ILO has supported legislation to enable the General Federation of Bahraini Trade Unions to play a full and responsible role in social dialogue and negotiations, he said.

Mr. Somavia stressed that trade unions in Bahrain have continued to call for reforms in a peaceful and constructive way, adding that their right to act and speak must be respected and that they must be allowed to be partners in the search for solutions that bring the country together through genuine dialogue.


Amnesty Int: Bahraini protesters tell of bloodshed as crackdown escalates

16 March 2011

Bahraini protesters today told Amnesty International of bloody scenes on the streets as government security forces stepped up their violent crackdown on demonstrations and blocked access to hospitals.

At least six people were reportedly killed in the capital Manama amid continuing protests as the army used tanks to flatten the peaceful protest camps set up in recent weeks to demand reform in the Gulf state. Government forces also surrounded hospitals and attacked doctors trying to help the wounded.

"The distressing reports and images coming out of Bahrain today provide further evidence that the authorities are using lethal and other excessive force to crush protests, with reckless disregard for human life," said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Director.

"Wounded protesters have also been prevented from accessing medical attention by government forces.. The Bahraini authorities must immediately put a stop to this bloodshed."

Security forces attacked the mainly Shi’a protest camp at Manama’s Pearl Roundabout camp early on Wednesday.

Family members of those wounded at the roundabout and people trying to approach the area told Amnesty International that the army opened fire on them without warning.

"I was walking towards the Pearl Roundabout… We were 5km from the roundabout when we were shot with live ammunition - one shot came one metre away from me. There were two tanks in the street and a helicopter above us," said Nabeel al Rajab,director of the banned Bahrain Centre for Human Rights.

Amnesty International also received testimonies from medical staff who were prevented from treating the victims of violence.

"We are waiting to do something and the army is not allowing us. We know there are hundreds injured and they are not allowing them to come here," said one doctor at the central Salmaniya hospital who did not wish to be named due to safety fears.

"A doctor went to the gate this morning trying to come in and the army beat him. They also threw tear gas and another type of gas at the emergency entrance of the hospital."

Another doctor said he was afraid of going to work because he heard of colleagues being attacked trying to reach the hospital.

"Hundreds of doctors and nurses are willing to provide services but they are stuck in their houses and do not know what to do, they are afraid of leaving their houses in case they are shot," the doctor told Amnesty International.

"The Salmaniya hospital is surrounded by the army. Injured people have instead been brought to small health centres that can't really provide optimal medical care and can't deal with these injuries."

In the nearby town of Sitra, a local resident told Amnesty International that she was afraid to go outside.

"We can't go out because the army is everywhere. They are throwing tear gas in the street. If anyone leaves their house, the army shoot at them," she said.


Spillover of government-incited violence affecting vulnerable bystanders

16 March 2011

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights deeply regrets the reports of several separate attacks on Asian workers in various parts of the capital, Manama on Sunday (March 13). The BCHR condemns, unequivocally, the violent targeting or harassment of any segment of Bahraini society. BCHR calls on the Bahraini authorities to immediately cease their policy of recruiting foreign mercenaries, many of whose citizenship is reportedly fast-tracked, and using them to oppress the local population. Seven Bahrainis have already been killed since the beginning of the current uprising, all as a result of the use of gunshot, bird pellets and rubber bullets by riot police.

According to the Gulf Daily News (http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=301780), an Asian man has been killed and another suffered critical injuries on Sunday March 13, after they were allegedly attacked by youth carrying wooden planks and sticks in separate incidents in Manama. It is also reported that six other stabbings of Bangladeshi and Pakistani workers occurred in the same evening.

The perpetrators of violence have not been identified, but the incident confirms fears that spillover from the government's policies of using mercenaries against locals will result in indiscriminate attacks on Asian residents. The BCHR also notes that that the general outbreak of mob violence will inevitably target bystanders, particularly workers who make up the most vulnerable portion of Bahraini society.

BCHR calls for:

- Relevant persons to ensure all government-sponsored thugs (baltajiyyas) are withdrawn from the streets to end the pervading situation of mob rule and violence

- A halt to the policy of recruiting foreign mercenaries and the illegal fast tracking of their citizenship to quell tensions between Bahrainis and foreigners

- Independent, fair and open investigations into all incidents of violence and all deaths which have occurred in the current uprising.

CPJ: Mob damages press in Bahrain; Saudis oust reporter

New York, March 15, 2011--Armed assailants stormed the Manama printing facility of the Bahraini independent daily Al-Wasat early this morning, damaging the press and hindering production of today's edition. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attack, which comes just as military contingents from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been enlisted to help contain political unrest in the kingdom. In Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, the government withdrew the accreditation of Ulf Laessing, a senior Reuters correspondent based in Riyadh, the news agency reported today. The government asserted that Laessing's coverage of a recent protest in that country was inaccurate, but it provided no details and Reuters stood by the reporting. The withdrawal of the accreditation requires Laessing to leave the country, Reuters said. Earlier this month, Saudi authorities indefinitely banned three critical columnists for the government-controlled daily Al-Watan. Authorities did not cite a reason, although columnists Amal Zahid, Ameera Khashghari, and Adwan al-Ahmari had written about political unrest in the region, according to CPJ research.

In Bahrain, where pro-reform demonstrations have been staged by Shiite majority protesters for several weeks, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa declared a three-month state of emergency today, according to news reports. On Monday, about 1,000 Saudi and 500 UAE troops entered Bahrain at the king's behest, according to news reports, a move that heightened regional tensions.

Around 1 a.m. today, dozens of men armed with knives and clubs stormed the printing facility of the daily Al-Wasat, said Mansour al-Jamri, the paper's editor-in-chief. The assailants forced their way into the facility, threatened employees who were preparing to print today's paper, and then damaged the press to make it inoperable, al-Jamri told CPJ. He said the newspaper contacted the Ministry of Interior, which dispatched security forces to disperse the mob. Another Bahraini newspaper, Al-Ayam, agreed to print today's edition of Al-Wasat.

"We condemn this attempt at censorship through mob violence and intimidation," said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. "The government of Bahrain is responsible for the safety of journalists and the physical security of media installations. The authorities must prosecute all behind this assault on Al-Wasat."

Al-Jamri said some of the assailants remained outside the newspaper's premises later today in an apparent intimidation effort. Government supporters have been harassing Al-Wasat press employees for the past several days, according to news reports and a CPJ source.

Al-Jamri told CPJ his newspaper has been targeted for reprisal in connection with its coverage of the political demonstrations. On Sunday, Al-Wasat photographer Mohammed al-Mukharaq was beaten by government supporters. And a number of Al-Wasat journalists, including al-Jamri, were named in an anonymously authored "Bahrain list of dishonor" that has circulated widely online.


FIDH: State of emergency and foreign military intervention will lead to further crackdown on opposition

15 March 2011

Whilst the Kingdom of Bahrain just declared a state of emergency, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) condemns the military intervention of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the Kingdom of Bahrain to protect government facilities against the protesters. The arrival of the troops follows a request to members of the Gulf Co-Operation Council (GCC) from Bahrain, whose Sunni rulers have faced weeks of protests and growing pressure from a majority Shia population to institute political reforms. FIDH believes that the claim raised by both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia that Iran might stand behind the ongoing protests from the Shia opposition in the Kingdom led to a very weak reaction of the US, which has called for restraint, but has refrained from saying whether it supports the move to deploy troops.

Opposition groups in Bahrain have made it clear that the entry of any soldier or military machinery into the Kingdom of Bahrain’s air, sea or land territories is a blatant occupation and that protesters are determined to oppose this military interference.

Furthermore, the state of emergency will give exceptional powers to the security apparatus and may result in the systematization of human rights violations such as arbitrary detention for anyone who might be considered « a danger to public security » and torture.

FIDH fears that the presence of foreign armies inside Bahrain may lead to an escalation of violence.

FIDH urges the Bahraini authorities as well as their military allies from the GCC to refrain from any violence against unarmed civilian protesters.

FIDH calls upon the Government of Bahrain to ask the foreign troops to leave its territory without delay and engage in dialogue with the opposition, which shall not take place under such tense circumstances.


Amnesty Int: Violent crackdown in Bahrain condemned

15 March 2011

Amnesty International has called on the governments of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to immediately restrain their security forces after an anti-government protester was shot dead in Bahrain today and many others sustained gunshot injuries.

Eye-witnesses told Amnesty International that Bahraini riot police and plain-clothed security forces used shotguns, rubber bullets and teargas against demonstrators in Sitra and Ma’ameer. Several ambulance drivers were attacked by riot police with batons as they tried to reach the wounded.

An eyewitness told Amnesty International that riot police blocked access to the Sitra Health Centre where many of the injured were taken, while leaving other injured people lying unassisted in the streets. The electricity supply to the centre was cut.

“The Bahraini authorities must immediately rein in their security forces and end their use of excessive force, and the Saudi Arabian authorities should demand this too if they are not to appear complicit,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director. “All those involved must act with restraint to prevent further loss of life.”

The shootings came as the King of Bahrain declared a three-month state of emergency, as anti-government protesters continue to demand reform.

“Today’s shootings and the reports we are receiving about denial of medical care to the injured are a desperately worrying development and indicate a truly alarming escalation following the police killings of protesters in February and the influx yesterday of Saudi Arabian troops and Emirati police to buttress the Bahraini government,” said Malcolm Smart.

Amnesty International has confirmed that one man died in Sitra Health Centre after being shot, but has not yet been able to verify other reported deaths.

Hospital sources and other eye-witnesses have told Amnesty International that hundreds of people have been admitted with injuries but it is unclear whether these were caused by excessive force or in violent clashes.

According to media reports earlier in the day, a Saudi Arabian soldier was killed after clashes with protesters.

“The King’s declaration of a state of emergency must not be used as a cover for repression and abuses of human rights, as has happened in so many other countries,” said Malcolm Smart. “Those responsible for excessive force, unlawful killings and other serious abuses must be held to account and the King and his government have an obligation to ensure it.”


Amnesty: Tear gas and rubber bullets as Bahrain security forces crackdown on protests

14 March 2011

Amnesty International has called on the Bahrain authorities to hold security forces accountable over the use of excessive force after police fired rubber bullets at close range at demonstrators in the capital Manama.

Hundreds of protesters are reported to have been injured over the weekend. On Friday, anti-government protesters sought to march to the royal palace in Riffa but were blocked by security forces and armed government supporters.

On Sunday, police used batons and fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters who sought to block Manama's financial district and demonstrated at Bahrain University.

The disturbances were the first major violence since Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa ordered the military off the streets nearly three weeks ago.

"This further resort to excessive force by Bahrain’s security forces is alarming and unacceptable," said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International's Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “The government must now rein in its forces. Those responsible for attacking peaceful protestors and using excessive force must be held to account.”

"The government must act now before the situation deteriorates further. There can be no repeat of the violence that we saw in February when seven protestors were killed by the security forces. There must be no impunity for unlawful killings."

The government has appointed the Deputy Prime Minister to lead an investigation into the February deaths which occurred when police used shotguns and tear gas against protesters inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt demanding political reform in Bahrain. However, few details of the inquiry have been made public.

Violence erupted last Friday when riot police blocked the road stopping tens of thousands of mainly Shi’a Muslim protesters from marching towards the royal palace. They then fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd.

Pro-government demonstrators armed with swords, sticks and clubs then gathered to protect the mainly Sunni Muslim neighbourhood. Police reportedly tried to keep the two sets of demonstrators apart but clashes followed.

Doctors at the nearby A'ali Health Center, where large numbers of injured anti-government protesters were taken, said that most were treated for suffocation from tear gas or fractures caused by being beaten with clubs and sticks.

On Sunday, riot police attacked demonstrators attempting to block access to the nation's financial district, Bahrain Financial Harbor, leaving 100 injured.

Anti-government demonstrators also clashed with security forces and government supporters at Bahrain University.

Neighbouring Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia are reported to have sent troops into Bahrain to assist the government.

A new Amnesty International report, Bloodied but Unbowed: Unwarranted State Violence against Bahraini protesters, due to be released later this week, documents the use of live ammunition and extreme force against peaceful protesters by the security forces in February and assaults on medical staff trying to help the wounded. The report calls for the government to hold those responsible to account.