The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) expresses its grave concern regarding what was issued today Sunday – 28 July 2013 – by the National Assembly (Council of Representatives and Shura Council) after holding an extraordinary session called for by the King of Bahrain upon the request of the president of the Council of Representatives Khalifa Al-Dhahrani.
77 members from the Council of Representatives and Shura Council, along with 12 ministers, met today. During the session, the members of the National Assembly (67, the rest abstained and three withdrew) endorsed recommendations against terrorism. The Speaker of the Council of Representatives refused to allow the members of the National Assembly to amend the recommendations, and they are as follows:
1. Issuance of Decree Laws during parliament’s summer recess in order to toughen penalties in the terrorism law and, if necessary, to implement such recommendations, in order to face any event requiring expediting the adoption of measures that brook no delay, and need swift actions to protect national security and stability, in line with Article 38 of the Kingdom’s Constitution.
2. Revoking the citizenship of those who carry out terrorist crimes and their instigators.
3. Inflicting tough penalties on those who incite all forms of violence and terrorism.
4. Inflicting severe punishment on all kinds and forms of violence and terror crimes.
5. Drying up all sources of terrorist financing.
6. Banning sit-ins, rallies and gatherings in the capital Manama.
7. Taking all necessary measures, including the declaration of the State of National Safety, to impose civic security and peace whenever law is violated, the security of the citizens is compromised and private and public property is under threat.
8. Taking legal actions against some political associations which incite and support acts of violence and terrorism.
9. Amending Law 58 of 2006 with respect to protection of the community of against terrorist acts so as to inflict punishment on those who instigate and support terrorism.
10. Granting the security bodies all required and appropriate powers to protect society from terror incidents and prevent spreading them.
11. Requesting Ambassadors to Bahrain not to interfere in the kingdom’s domestic affairs, in line with International Law and regulations.
12. Toughening penalties on those who involve children and exploit them in acts of terrorism and vandalism of private or public facilities.
13. Total commitment to applying all punitive laws related to combating violence and terrorism.
14. Adherence to a balanced moderate discourse in order to preserve the social fabric of the Bahraini society.
15. Direct relevant state bodies to activate the necessary legal action against those who use social networks in an illegal way, and toughening penalties against those who use those networks to disseminate false information to foreign sides which plot against the country’s security and stability.
16. Basic liberties, particularly freedom of opinion, should be affected so as to strike a balance between law enforcement and human rights protection.
17. Examination of the educational policies of the kingdom and review and change educational curricular in a way that protects society from violence and terrorist actions and improves the behavior of students.
18. Using the media to shed light on the dangers of terrorism and its negative impacts on national stability and economy.
19. Backing the loyal efforts of HM the King to encourage national dialogue and push it forward, as serious national dialogue is the best means to resolve all issues and maintain national cohesion.
20. Those involved in terrorist acts shall not be covered by Royal pardon on crimes.
21. Devising an integrated national security strategy in order to be able to face all developments and supporting the efforts of those in charge of it and ensuring their protection.
22. Launching programmes to rehabilitate youths who were exploited in various crimes.
The King of Bahrain issued a statement in which he stressed implementing the recommendations – 22 recommendations – and demanded their quick implementation (King of Bahrain statement: http://www.bna.bh/portal/news/573191)
The King issued on 15 July 2013 a decision to further expand the powers of the Supreme Defense Council in relation to national security (decision of expanding powers: http://www.alwasatnews.com/3976/news/read/796146/1.html)
The Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman, the Minister of Interior and the Minister of Justice stressed on the use of force to stop terrorism.
The new recommendations issued by the National Assembly gave extensive powers to the Executive Authority, and among them:
• Issuing laws without referring to the legislative authorities.
• Revoking the Bahraini citizenship (the Bahraini Authorities revoked the citizenship of 31 people in November 2012 - refer to the BYSHR statement http://byshr.org/?p=1213)
• Holding accountable the inciters of violence and terrorism without determining a definition for terrorism and violence, and this section could be used to hold the human rights defenders and opposition accountable.
• Banning protests in the capital Manama, and this is considered a violation of freedom of opinion and assembly.
• Giving the power of imposing a state of emergency to the Executive Authority without any control.
• Extensive powers to the security forces.
• Imposing censorship on social media and holding online activists accountable.
The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) calls for:
1. Immediately suspend the extraordinary measures.
2. Commit to the international conventions related to human rights which Bahrain has acceded to.
3. Hold those responsible for human rights violation accountable and bring them forth to a fair trial.
4. Allow freedom of opinion and expression and the remaining freedoms and not to restrict them with repressive laws.
Refer to the BYSHR statement “Bahrain: Implementing a State of Emergency (National Safety) without an Official Declaration” ( http://byshr.org/?p=1225)