Bahrain Monitor - A Monthly Newsletter on the Human Rights Situation in Bahrain

The High Cost of Human Rights violations

Hasan Moosa Shafaie

Hasan Moosa Shafaei

It is obvious that maintaining the rule of law will prevent human rights violations from taking place. It is possible to say that when countries violate human rights of their citizens under the pretext of protecting the security of the state, the opposite effect is achieved. In other words, violations destabilize the regime and the security of the country; and help deteriorate the situation as opposed to bringing about stability and peace.

The route taken by human rights violators to achieve stability and security is wrong. Thus, the claim that adherence to International human rights standards will only weaken the State’s security, is false. It is for this reason that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stresses that the enjoyment of the protection of legal system of human rights prevents individuals from resorting to rebel against tyranny and oppression.

It is worth remembering this fact especially at a time when there is fierce debate concerning torture in Bahrain. Understanding the amount of loss inflicted by the occurrence of human rights violations is an issue that deserves deep thought. Violating human rights is costly to any state and to any society, not only at the moral level but also harms Bahrain’s reputation abroad. Human rights violations have huge implications including:

  • They weaken the society’s confidence in the Government and its security forces as well as impeding cooperation between society and Government. Additionally, violations encourage some citizens to violate and disrespect the law and help develop hostility towards the security and judicial apparatus.
  • Violations increase tension in the street and escalate violence and rioting. Historically, violations represent the fuel and justification for extremism. We have noticed that extremists in Bahrain attempt to involve the police in clashes in order to create a suitable environment for violating the law. Hence, respecting the law by Government organs help solve the problems and disagreements peacefully and promote a better relationship between the State and its citizens.
  • Violations harm the reputation of the judicial system even if it is not directly involved. This because the Judiciary is a refuge for individuals and symbolizes justice. Therefore, people will question the role of the Judiciary in safeguarding and protecting human rights. In other words, violating human rights harms many Governmental bodies, distort their reputation and weaken their credibility.
  • There have been some serious attempts by the Ministry of Interior to improve the relationship between society and the police to help combat and prevent crime through the recently established program ‘Community Policing’. If violations occur, this cooperation and efforts will be undermined and will isolate the police and the security system from society.
  • The violations harm the reputation of the State and provide an opportunity for criticizing it by international human rights organizations and the media, which is something extremists try to accomplish. The violations also increase political pressure on the State which could perhaps be exploited to achieve goals that affect the State’s sovereignty and independence.

We are confident that there is a political will to respect human rights in Bahrain and also a public and official consensus in condemning torture. There is a clear interest in preventing the occurrence of any form of violation. However, there remains a missing link which is the weak transparency regarding the individual breaches that take place, which then lead to exaggerating the situation and presenting these breaches as systematic. If sufficient transparency existed, it would reveal that the breaches are minimal. Such breaches occur in most countries of the world and there is no way to completely eradicate them. We demand the concerned bodies to prevent the occurrence of violations by taking preventative steps and procedures. We also demand that they deal with the issue with open-mind and open their files as this is the only way to promote their credibility.