BHRM Condemns the Use of Excessive Force

On 16 February 2011, the Bahrain Human Rights Monitor (BHRM) expressed its deep regret regarding the clashes between the security forces and the protesters on 14 and 15 February 2011. Two protesters were killed and many were injured as a result of the clashes. BHRM expressed its condolences to the families of the victi­ms, and demanded that the authority conduct an immediate investigation regarding the excessive and unjustified use of force against the protesters, and hold those responsible to account.

In a statement, the BHRM viewed the incidents as an unacceptable setback to the human rights situation in the country. It called upon the Government and all political parties to protect the decade-long accomplishments in this field. The BHRM also stressed the need to assess the political, social and human rights achievements in order to add new momentum to the existing reforms, which would revitalize the Government, encourage greater interaction between the public and Government, absorb and reduce shortcomings in the Government’s performance.

The statement stressed the right to demonstration as guaranteed by the Bahraini Constitution and the National Action Charter. Bahraini citizens have the right to peacefully express their opinions and demands, as long as they refrain from damaging public and private property.

BHRM urged security officials to act wisely and with restraint when dealing with unlicensed protests. Security forces should also be held to account when excessive force is used, including the use of rubber bullets and Shozen, which causes many injuries and disabilities to protesters.

Finally, the BHRM emphasized the need to adhere to the articles of the Constitution, the National Action Charter and comply with the laws and regulations. Failing to do so will lead to chaos, an absence of the rule of law and authoritarianism, instead of freedom and reform. The BHRM is convinced that attention should concentrate on speeding up political reforms and public freedoms as an appropriate response to address the deteriorating human rights situation.