Bahrain dictatorship and Britain

This video is called HARDtalk – Nabeel Rajab – President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights.

From Liberal Democrat Voice (a site of one of the two parties in the British coalition government, the Conservative party being the other one):

Bahrain – time for Britain to take a lead

By Eric Avebury

23rd November 2012 – 8:51 am

On November 5, thirty-one Bahrainis were deprived of their citizenship arbitrarily, without notice and without judicial process, contrary to customary international law. Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that everyone has the right to a nationality and no-one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality. The victims can appeal these decision, but there is no point. The king has absolute power to grant or rescind citizenship, and the courts wouldn’t dream of overturning his decisions.

No wonder that hundreds of Bahrainis demonstrate against the government every day. Even after a total ban on meetings they continue to turn out after Friday prayers. The ruling family’s assault on the rights of the people provokes their hatred, and they are calling for regime change.

The ancestors of the royal family came from Zebara in the 18th century, so the chant on the streets is;

Your visit is finished – go back to Zebara

In Arabic it rhymes:

Intahat Ziyara, Oodoo illa Zebara

The US State Department repeat their call to the government of Bahrain to create a climate that is conducive to reconciliation, to meaningful dialogue, to reform, to bring peaceful change. Britain also calls for peaceful dialogue, but many of the leaders of the opposition are serving life sentences in prison, among them Hassan Mushaima, leader of the Haq movement and Abduljalil al-Singace, the head of its human rights bureau; Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a leading human rights activist.

Nabeel Rajab, head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, is imprisoned for three years for a remark he made on Twitter.

The Bassiouni Commission, which examined hundreds of human rights abuses following the uprising that began in February 2011, recommended that political prisoners should be freed and compensated for the torture they suffered.

Prince Salman, the Crown Prince, gave the Foreign Secretary William Hague a personal commitment to an inclusive political dialogue. This can’t happen while most of opposition are behind bars. Now the provocative and unlawful deprivation of these people’s citizenship, with the threat of more to come, makes it harder than ever to start a dialogue.

Our Government needs to tell the hereditary autocrats of Bahrain that the long-term peace and stability of Bahrain can’t be achieved by killing, torturing and arbitrarily imprisoning human rights and political activists. Bahrain and the other Gulf monarchies need fundamental reforms that transfer power from permanent autocrats to the people, as in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and soon we hope, Syria.

Britain should line itself up with the future, and not with anachronistic family oligarchies.

* Eric Avebury is a Liberal Democrat Peer, and the former Liberal MP for Orpington. He has campaigned on minority rights across the globe over many years.

This sounds excellent (though Libya and Syria differ from Egypt or Tunisia, but that is another subject). However, meanwhile, the British Prime Minister David Cameron goes to the Arab peninsula to prop up the local princely dictatorships like Bahrain with British weapons.

So, Britain “takes a lead” indeed; but on the side of tyranny; not against it.

Eric Avebury’s party, as the junior partners of Cameron’s Conservatives, are co-responsible for that. When will they … or, will they ever, draw a line in the sand and say STOP! to their coalition partners?

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg correctly said that the Iraq war was illegal. But that had no practical consequences for British governmental militarism.

11 thoughts on “Bahrain dictatorship and Britain

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