Bahrain

Al-Wefaq raps decision to set up human rights court in Bahrain

al khalifa6Bahrain’s main opposition group al-Wefaq has censured a decision by the Arab League to establish a human rights court in Manama, saying the Persian Gulf kingdom is the ‘black hole of human rights.’

On Wednesday, the al-Wefaq movement said designating the Manama regime to host the tribunal casts doubt on the credibility of the institution.

“Al-Wefaq revealed that there are more than 55 types of human rights violations that have been perpetrated by the regime in Bahrain against citizens, including natural and fundamental human rights,” said the group, adding, “This entrenches the idea of Bahrain being the human rights black hole.”

The Arab League foreign ministers came up with the decision at a meeting in Cairo on September 1. The Al Khalifa regime has lauded the move as a recognition of its eligibly to host the pan-Arab court.

Human Rights Watch has also criticized the Arab organization for choosing Manama as the host city of such a tribunal.

“The establishment of a glitzy new court won’t disguise the fact that Bahrain has a dismal and worsening record in that regard,” said Nicholas McGeehan, Persian Gulf researcher with Human Rights Watch.

The Manama regime’s human rights record has come under scrutiny over its handling of anti-regime protests that erupted across the Arab country in early 2011.

Bahrainis demanded political reform and a constitutional monarchy, a demand that later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following its brutal crackdown on popular protests.

However, the Manama regime launched a brutal crackdown on the peaceful protests and called in Saudi-led Arab forces from neighboring states. Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others arrested in the clampdown.

Al-Wefaq says more than 200 people, including a woman and 19 children, were detained during the regime crackdown on protesters in July.

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