Bahrain: Implementing a State of Emergency (National Safety) without an Official Declaration

15 November 2012

The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) expresses its grave concern for the increasing human rights violations during the past weeks, which confirms that the Bahraini Authorities had been practicing a “state of emergency” or as it was called previously “National Safety State” with an official declaration.

Background:

In March 2011 after hundreds of thousands protested in the Lulu (Pearl) Roundabout (Manama), the King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa issued a “Royal Decree No. 18 of 2011″, and this Decree was a declaration of a State of National Safety, a “state of emergency in the country”, and this continued for three months where the Bahraini Authorities practiced dreadful violations of human rights (refer to the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry – BICI – report which was established by the King to investigate the violations : http://www.bici.org.bh/BICIreportEN.pdf)

Photo: Pearl roundabout after entering the army and the suppression of demonstrators

Photo: King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa

Articles of declaring the State of National Safety “emergency state”:

The declaration of the State of National Safety which was issued by an order from the King consists of 15 articles in which the responsibility of the police, army, and National Guard was specified in Article “5”, where they were given the following measures:

1. Evacuate or isolate certain areas to maintain security and public order.
2. Regulate and ban public gatherings if they are deemed to be a threat to public order or national safety.
3. Regulate traffic and movement; impose curfews and places limits on travel outside the Kingdom whenever this is for the benefit of the citizens.
4. Temporarily regulate access to certain areas whenever it is in the public interest.
5. Organize opening and closing times for shops and public places whenever required by the public interest.
6. Search persons and places when suspicions exist of a violation of the provisions of this Decree or the decision or orders issued by the authority responsible for its implementation.
7. If a foreigner is deemed a threat to public security and safety or citizen, they may be deported or prohibited from entering the Kingdom.
8. If evidence arises that an association, club, union or other legal person is undertaking activity that disturbs public order, or working in the interest of a foreign State, or spreading a spirit of disunity among the citizens to cause disorder or disobedience in the Kingdom, its activity may be suspended.
9. If it appears that some of the printed, audio or visual media or informational networks would prejudice national security or undermine the Constitution, social or economic order of the Kingdom, it may be seized and denied publication or broadcast.
10. Regulate means of transport by land, sea and air and use them temporarily, provided that the owners and users of these means of transport are fairly compensated.
11. Arrest and detain suspects and persons deemed threatening to the security of citizens.
12. Withdraw Bahraini citizenship from all those whose presence is deemed to be a risk to public order and security and expel them from the country or detain them at secure locations.

State of National Safety “emergency state” without an official declaration:

The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) observed increasing violations during the last weeks which confirm that Bahraini Authorities had implemented the “articles of the State of National Safety declaration” against the protestors in Bahrain.

Where the BYHSR observed the following:

1. Besieging the village of “Eker” after the Ministry of Interior claimed the death of a security officer during security confrontations between the riot police and demonstrators. The Ministry of Interior had blocked all the entrances of the village and prevented its residents from entering, and closed the school in the village. (Refer to the joint statement of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights: http://byshr.org/?p=1201)

Besieging the village of “Eker” is considered an implementation of articles (1/5 and 3/5) from the articles of the State of National Safety declaration.

2. The Minister of Interior issued a decision to ban gatherings and demonstrations. (refer to the statement of the Ministry of Interior: http://www.bna.bh/portal/en/news/531098?date=2012-10-30)

Banning demonstrations and gatherings is considered an implementation of article (2/5) from the articles of the State of National Safety declaration.

3. During last week, the Security Forces and a large number of security men dressed in civilian clothes (masked) besieged the area of “Muhazza” in the village of Sitra, where more than 70 houses were raided with the aim of searching and finding the accused, the residents were subjected to mistreatment and breaking house items sometimes. This continued for more than 4 days, and houses were raided more than once. The Bahraini Authorities arrested at least 4 people.

Photo: Houses were raided in the village of Sitra by security forces

At the same time, units of the “National Guard” were dispersed at the entrances of the village of Sitra and other areas of Bahrain. The Bahraini Authorities also arrested dozens of activists from other villages.

Raiding and arresting dozens from the village of Sitra and other areas is considered an implementation of articles (6/5 and 11/5) from the articles of the State of National Safety declaration.

4. The Minister of Interior issued a decision to revoke the Bahraini citizenship from 31 citizen (refer to the joint statement of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights: http://byshr.org/?p=1213)

The decision to revoke the citizenship from citizens is considered an implementation of articles (12/5) from the articles of the State of National Safety declaration.

5. The Bahraini Authorities prohibited several foreign journalists from entering the country and restricted the entry of international human rights organizations.

The decision to prohibit journalists and restrict international organizations is considered an implementation of article (7/5) from the articles of the State of National Safety declaration.

The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) emphasizes that implementing the “articles of the State of National Safety declaration” without an official declaration of “state of emergency / national safety” in the country is with the aim of limiting international criticism towards the human rights violations and avoides the obligations of the Bahraini Authorities before the Human Rights Council and neglecting the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report which was established by the King.

The BYSHR demands:

1. Immediately and independently investigate the human rights violations that took place after the “Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry” report and to bring forth those responsible for the violations to justice.
2. Not to target political activists and human rights defenders inside Bahrain and in exile, and stop the decision to revoke their citizenship.
3. Implement the recommendations of the Universal Period Review to improve human rights conditions.
4. Release the detainees in cases related to freedom of expression and freedom of gathering.
5. Permit peaceful gathering and not restrict in breach with international conventions.
6. Permit foreign journalists to enter Bahrain to cover the political events and not restrict the international human rights organizations.

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