Bahrainâ€™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 â€˜black hole of human rights.â€™
On Wednesday, the al-Wefaq movement said designating the Manama regime to host the tribunal casts doubt on the credibility of the institution.
â€œAl-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,â€ said the group, adding, â€œThis entrenches the idea of Bahrain being the human rights black hole.â€
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.
â€œThe establishment of a glitzy new court wonâ€™t disguise the fact that Bahrain has a dismal and worsening record in that regard,â€ said Nicholas McGeehan, Persian Gulf researcher with Human Rights Watch.
The Manama regimeâ€™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.